Archive for November 27th, 2015

The rise and fall of Brazil’s banking golden boy..

November 27, 2015

Another of those once golden banking boy bites the dust. This one is a Brazilian banker – Andre Esteves.

Andre Esteves, the brash banker who once joked his firm’s name, Grupo BTG Pactual, stood for “better than Goldman”, became the latest high-profile executive dragged into Brazil’s widening corruption scandal.

The 47-year-old billionaire was arrested in on Wednesday, along with Senator Delcidio Amaral, police said. Esteves allegedly sought an agreement with Amaral to interfere with testimony from a jailed former executive of oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, according to a court document.

Esteves made a splash on the international financial stage – and became Brazil’s youngest self-made billionaire – when he sold Pactual to UBS for $2.6 billion in 2006. He and partners bought it back three years later and set off on an expansion, snapping up businesses including the Swiss private-banking unit of Assicurazioni Generali SpA. The firm sold shares to the public in 2012.

What is it about banking and finance that most of its earlier priests end up being ostracised later? Prof Galbraith in his book on history of money pointed to several of such cases in the past which continues till date.

RIP: Prof Douglass North

November 27, 2015

The blog was on a break which got longer than planned. There has been no blogging for a while and it is quite a sad post to start off with.

Prof Douglass North  passed away this week. No words can do justice to the contribution made by Prof North to institutional economics.  There is a collection of tributes on MR and another one at his Univ website.

I only have couple of things to add. I was once reading his interview where he said he learnt most of his economics after his PhD! Moreover, he mugged and cleared his written comprehensive exams (a set of exams in a Phd program one has to clear before writing the dissertation). But the people on his oral viva figured he knew very little about economics. They could not fail him as his written scores were really good! Sometimes inefficiency in the system does some good 🙂 In the same interview, he also explains how his first students did not take him seriously at all. He thought the students were smarter than him.

Knowing Hos Prof North shaped economics later on, one can hardly believe all this. As they say, if one stays committed to a cause(with dash of some luck), anything can happen in life.

Here is another tribute posted on


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