Open Source Finance Message Board › thoughts on Open Source Finance

thoughts on Open Source Finance

A former member
Post #: 1
Marc, so you're looking for ideas on what's next for Open Source Finance? In terms of Meetup topics, I'd say sure, you should expand beyond munis and have presentations on sovereign defaults, inflation, exchange rate crises, and other macro/financial topics. These are timely topics and I think the participants
would be interested in hearing about these. But I'm thinking it might be hard to find people to present this kind of work. The researchers and analysts that do this type of thing are typically academics, policymakers, and investment banks. Finance/Econ academics are more focused on theory or econometric approach, and less on current insights for understanding policy implications or macro considerations for investing. The academics already have a community, and for those with commercial interests, they likely lack incentives to share their work in an open way.

Thinking through what participants would do with what they learn from Open Source Finance... I've mentioned this to you before, to me the motivation for Open Source Finance is something like: We store our wealth in dollars, euros, yen, etc. When I hear things like trillion dollar coins used to get around a debt ceiling, I get nervous about what things are going to look like in the future. Do I buy TIPS? Do I load up on short-term CDs? Why when S&P downgraded the US, did Treasury prices go up? Is now the time to put 100% of my retirement funds in gold?! With the recent "thinking outside the box" monetary policy, I have no idea what the implications are for 5, 10, 25 years from now. If there were a website that allowed me to grab code, data, and other people's insights based on earlier insights and that code and data, that might help us to be better prepared to plan for the future.

Some site users will just read the insights on the website's blog. Some site users will grab the data and do work and never give back. And some site users will build and refine models, clean data, and contribute insights.

If you take the current macro data/forecast providers such Moody's Economy.com or IHS Global Insight, my hunch is that they have the incentive to focus on speculators/investors, trying to get next month's number right instead of what will happen in the next 5 years, for example. If you take the pop economists, like Nouriel Roubini, I think they have the incentive to call everything as an upcoming crisis - when the economy is humming along, who wants to hear from a macroeconomist? I think the IMF and fed do a good job making data and academic-type research publicly available, but they typically don't make code and models available. Maybe with Open Source Finance we can add a little more transparency to all of this, to be better prepared to know when the effects of the recent crisis will be over, and to prepare for the next crisis (inflation?). This is all very challenging to do, but with people collaborating out in the open in a Linux-sense, you might be able to make a dent in some of this.

So, in my mind, this early in the game, the Open Source Finance Meetup is the chance for the participants to get together face-to-face to make progress on the Open Source Finance global financial system transparency platform. And while this is in its infancy, I would lay out your agendas for the Meetup based on what needs to be done, have some specific tasks, and see if you can get participants to sign up. Once you have a thriving community, then the Meetup can be less about project management. If you can set it up in a way that contributors can point to the site with their work, this can help fill resume holes. There are corporate planning jobs that require econometric skills. Contributing to Open Source Finance is a way for people to both develop and prove they have the skills to do that work.
Marc J.
joffemd
Walnut Creek, CA
Post #: 23
Thanks for this Andy. I will respond to this on the "What Next?" thread.
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