Tag Archives: The Black Swan

Black swans, butterfly effects, terrorist detectors and marketing research: we don’t know nearly as much as we think we do

Prediction is a big, big business these days, and even those of us who aren’t explicitly in the prediction business probably do all we can to make sense of the future. For example:

  • Does your company do marketing research? (If it’s a business of any size and sophistication, the answer is probably yes.)
  • Do you track the financial pages?
  • Do you keep abreast of the latest innovations in your industry (or any industry, for that matter)?
  • Have you factored in economic considerations when trying to decide whether or not to buy a house?
  • If you have an IRA, have you factored in where you think the damned economy is going in making fund decisions? Read more

Let the economy die?! Rushkoff’s goals are noble but his plan needs work

A couple of weeks ago author and NYU media theory lecturer Douglas Rushkoff penned a provocative essay for Arthur Magazine. Entitled “Let It Die,” the essay explains why we should stop trying to save the economy.

In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. Yes, unemployment would rise as hundreds of thousands of formerly well-paid brokers and bankers lost their jobs; but at least they would no longer be extracting wealth at our expense. They would need to be fed, but that would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in the luxurious conditions they’re enjoying now. Even Bernie Madoff costs us less in jail than he does on Park Avenue.

Alas, I’m not being sarcastic. Read more