We face no shortage of negative news around the financial industry. And within this zone, one the most damning phrases is “financial engineering.” Following the economic crisis – and even before – financial engineering came to symbolize the worst of what a free and active system of capitalism can provide.
But what if financial innovation could help find a cure for cancer? Or help address homelessness? Or send lower-class youth to college?
These efforts represent the other side of financial engineering. And while the negative – the real pain that real people felt and continue to feel – must be addressed and should never be ignored, the incredible innovation that has driven global and local economies for centuries is also fascinating and important.
Andrew Palmer thinks and writes about both sides of this financial innovation coin. He is Business Affairs Editor at the Economist. He is also author of the new book: “Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation is Reshaping Our World for the Better.”