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Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation by Richard L. Sandor

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Chapter 3

The Berkeley Years

The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.

John Lennon

The failure of Project CCARP only increased my determination to learn more about futures markets. I continued to write academically about industrial inventive activity as a means to procure tenure, but my heart wasn't fully in it. Coincidentally, some of my research would serve as a natural segue into understanding and practicing financial innovation. I had always wanted to invent, and the futures industry was changing. It had become ripe for new ideas, and the seeds of inventive activity were beginning to flower.

A New Direction

As I sought to expand my understanding of the industry and how new futures contracts were developed, it occurred to me to teach a course on futures markets. Two fortuitous opportunities led me to propose this to the dean at Berkeley.

Although Project CCARP was dead, the network and reputation I had built during its life had some unintended consequences. Gerry Taylor, a publisher at the humor magazine National Lampoon, had been organizing annual conferences run by Institutional Investor for equity investors. He was convinced that he could create a comparable event for futures traders. Gerry sought to include academics in his event alongside senators, industry leaders, and CEOs, and was given my name by some traders in Chicago. He was intrigued by my ...

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