They knew they were right?

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I’m going to leave this without comment, The Crash-Test Solution. Subhead: “we now know that few people saw the downturn coming. Scientists are working to make sure that never happens again.”

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7 Comments

  1. Broken clocks are right twice a day.

  2. which clocks are you talking about?

  3. omg…. that’s the most hilarious thing… I’ve read all day…..

  4. The allegedly correct prognosticators. Someone’s always predicting riches, and someone’s always predicting doom and gloom. A crisis simply gives their lucky claims emotional heft. This is not to say that mathematical modeling is necessarily a bad idea, but simply being right in one (albeit emotionally charged) case shouldn’t give their case extra weight.

  5. Nah, physicists and engineers are all autistic and can’t understand living things, let alone people, let alone their behavior in groups. Inanimate things — yes. 
     
    You’d need the few ecologists, biologists, and psychologists who know any math. But unlike Bell Labs, the playgrounds of patronage for these people haven’t been closed down, and they get to do what they really love. 
     
    I’ll try to put together a post soon with employment data showing how the break-up of the AT&T monopoly was what drove the quants from it to Wall Street. The timing is obvious — assaults on AT&T during the ’70s, and killing it in 1984, the same time period when quants flocked to Wall St. — and some famous quants indeed *did* work at Bell Labs in its moribund years, such as Emanuel Derman. 
     
    We need to re-establish a playpen for autistic physicists and engineers so that they can’t screw up finance again. Not that quantitative approaches are bad per se in finance — you just couldn’t expect the good ones to come from physicists or engineers. No theory of mind. 
     
    If the government closed down NIH and other bio funding agencies, and broke up all of the bio-related monopolies, then the quants who flocked to Wall St. would get some shit done. I don’t advocate that, though, obviously.

  6. The problem may be that we?ve used only economists to try to solve our economic predicaments. Instead, the solution may be found by physicists and other scientists accustomed to studying complex systems. To anticipate the next crisis and find our way out of this one, we may have to cast off economic and financial dogma and adopt ideas inspired by physics and other natural sciences, disciplines in which the notion of unstable and unpredictable systems is nothing new. 
     
    This strikes me as intolerable, idiotic bullshit. Economists were the problem, I think, but not because they hadn’t hired enough physicists. “Unstable and unpredictable systems” are common knowledge to every fucking person in the world except some overambitious scientists. 
     
    I suspect that a_c just recently ended up on the wrong side of history and is making up alibis and pointing fingers.  
     
    There have been a lot of people putting up various kinds of warnings for a long time. They were at different levels of analysis and didn’t amount to accurate or reliable predictions, but “prediction” is really a delusion anyway in this case, but there has to be some kind of rethinking done.

  7. I suspect that a_c just recently ended up on the wrong side of history and is making up alibis and pointing fingers.  
     
    i think you misread his comment. 
     
    in any case, i had to wonder if the whole article was some sort of put-on that went too far. it has an onionesque feel. is the santa fe institute rolling it in because they shorted?

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