Betting on the Weather

In response to:

The Failure of the Economy & the Economists from the May 28, 2009 issue

To the Editors:

I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the well-written article by Benjamin M. Friedman, “The Failure of the Economy & the Economists” [NYR, May 28]. But he misses a critical target when he says that “none of them was betting on the weather…,” like no one would be so foolish. Weather derivatives are what they are called and while the market for them may not be as large as when Enron, Reliant, and other “energy market makers” were selling and trading them in the late 1990s, they are still very available and, to the best of my very limited knowledge, represent an unregulated trading opportunity to companies seeking to manage business risk associated with weather, or to make a quick buck by, yes, betting on the weather.

D. Fisher Sweetnam
North Hollywood, California