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Dynamic Economic Decision Making: Strategies for Financial Risk, Capital Markets, and Monetary Policy by JOHN E. SILVIA

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Chapter 5

Information: Competitive Edge in the Twenty-First Century

Information can make or break the best strategy for any institution. Consider the case exemplified in the movie Trading Places. While in a bathroom stall, Billy Ray Valentine (played by Eddie Murphy) overhears the conversation of Randolph and Mortimer Duke (played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche, respectively) who were brothers and partners in a large Philadelphia commodities trading firm. The Dukes are discussing a little wager they had made. Valentine discovers the truth about the switch the Dukes have played on himself and Louis Winthorpe III (played by Dan Aykroyd).The switch in economic and social positions between Billy Ray and Louis occurs as a test of the nature versus nurture debate. The Dukes frame Louis, one of their best employees, and arbitrarily select the beggar Billy Ray and put Billy Ray in Louis's position. After hearing of the switch, Billy Ray then seeks out Louis to inform him of the real story. They decide to join forces to thwart the brothers with the help of Ophelia, a heart-of-gold prostitute (played by Jamie Lee Curtis, who won the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role). Later, while watching television, Billy Ray and Louis learn of a Clarence Beeks, who is transporting a secret report on orange crop forecasts. Beeks is the information source of the Dukes' trading strategies and just happened to be filmed on television. Billy Ray and Louis recall large payments made to Beeks by ...

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