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Like a bridge over troubled waters..
                            --Paul Simon

Our Mission We work to see what's coming over the horizon and to bridge social and cultural divides. We try to provoke conversations about government policies and individual actions that could make Planet Earth more liveable for our grandchildren and their children.

​Yes, Elizabeth, banking needs to be boring again! | April 2023


My Letter to the Editor was prompted by an op-ed making the argument that the world of finance has become so complicated that nobody fully understands the risks and the consequences could be disastrous.


Here is the core message in my letter, the full text of which can be found via this hyperlink:

In the graduate course on emerging markets finance that I taught during the 2000s, I suggested to my students that people would not be able to sleep peacefully at night until “banking becomes boring again”. The kind of boring I had in mind was what I saw in the 1950s and 1960s when my father was a lawyer with Citibank in New York checking the fine print of loan contracts with Greek shipowners.


The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (and a couple of others) a few weeks ago has gotten a lot of press and before long Senator Warren was interviewed on a major TV news channel about the matter. She has stood out for years as the political figure most outspoken on how the financial industry is underregulated and prone to crises. You may remember that she was the impetus behind the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2020 as an effort to avoid repeating the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08.


I don’t know when I started trying to understand things coming over the horizon that would have an impact on my life and on the rest of the world. There is some evidence that I was doing this in the 1960s.  Since then I seem to have developed a

pretty good nose for what’s coming, and had some success in writing about it.

The Rieffel family name comes from my great grandmother, Marie Adelaide Rieffel, born in Rosheim, Alsace, France, around 1840. My grandfather was her only child and she could not give him his father’s name because my grandfather was a love child, born out of wedlock. My great grandfather, Alexis Dieudonné d’Origny, born in Lorraine, France, was working as a physician to the Sultan of Turkey when he fell in love with Marie Adelaide on a visit to Paris where she was working with her sister making hats for high society. There is just as much fascinating history on my mother’s side of the family.

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