drawing by marguerita
photo by marguerita
“The technology got ahead of our ability to use it in responsible ways."
What happened?The miss by Wall Street analysts shows how models can be precise out to several decimal places, and yet be totally off base.“The price of an asset, like a house or a stock, reflects not only your beliefs about the future, but you’re also betting on other people’s beliefs,” he observed. “It’s these hierarchies of beliefs — these behavioral factors — that are so hard to model.”Better modeling, more wisely applied, would have helped and common sense in senior management.
“Complexity, transparency, liquidity and leverage have all played a huge role in this crisis,”and these are things that are not generally modeled as a quantifiable risk.”
That out-of-control innovation is reflected in the growth of securities intended to spread risk widely through the use of financial instruments called derivatives. Credit-default swaps, for example, were originally created to insure blue-chip bond investors against the risk of default. In recent years, these swap contracts have been used to insure all manner of instruments, including pools of subprime mortgage securities.
The danger is that the modeling becomes too mechanical.”“We’ve learned the hard way that the consequences can be catastrophic, even if statistically improbable,” he said.
In Modeling Risk, the Human Factor Was Left Out - NYTimes.com
In physics, a quantum (plural: quanta) is an indivisible entity of a quantity that has the same units as the Planck constant and is related to both energy and momentum of elementary particles of matter (called fermions) and of photons and other bosons.
from the editor: apropos Wall Street and bufoons.
The word comes from the Latin "quantus," for "how much."
Behind this, one finds the fundamental notion that a physical property may be "quantized", referred to as "quantization". This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete numerical values, rather than any value, at least within a range. There is a related term of quantum number.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
drawing by marguerita