http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704825504574586330960597134.html A few years ago I happened to be at a conference of business people, not financial people, and I was making a presentation. The conference was being addressed by a very vigorous young investment banker from London who was explaining to all these older executives how their companies would be dust if they did not realize the joys of financial innovation and financial engineering, and that they had better get with it. I was listening to this, and I found myself sitting next to one of the inventors of financial engineering. I didn't know him, but I knew who he was and that he had won a Nobel Prize, and I nudged him and asked what all the financial engineering does for the economy and what it does for productivity. Much to my surprise, he leaned over and whispered in my ear that it does nothingâand this was from a leader in the world of financial engineering. I asked him what it did do, and he said that it moves around the rents in the financial systemâand besides, it's a lot of intellectual fun.