Flickers of lucidity in mainstream press

The recent article “Our volatile age defies spreadsheet strategy” by Gillian Tett in the Financial Times is one illustration that the depth of the crisis is at last starting to shake established certainties:


Here is an extract:

“Ever since the computing revolution took hold on Wall Street and the City of London in the 1970s, finance has been treated not as an art but a science – and banks have operated as if computer models could not just explain the past but predict the future, too.

Now those “quants” and rocket scientists find themselves at sea. Computer models alone can no longer calculate meaningful probabilities about what will happen next in the eurozone.

Instead, what really matters now in places ranging from Finland to Greece are non-quantitative issues such as political values, social cohesion and civic identity.

Above all, the question of “credit” is key to working out whether bonds can ever be repaid. But this is not credit in the mathematical sense by which banks have often defined it (as a projected probability on a chart), but in the old fashioned, Latin – social – meaning (belief).

The crucial variable, in other words, is whether voters have faith in their governments and central banks. Do they trust the safety of their banks? Are citizens willing to trust each other, and co-operate, when pain is imposed?”

And the article’s last sentence reveals a budding awareness of reality:

“We have entered a new “age of volatility”, and not just in finance and economics, but in politics and society, too”.

Only reality is much broader and more subtle than anything materialist thinking is able to convey, as regular readers of this blog know very well.

Still, it is encouraging to find in the main press a partial acknowledgement of the extraordinary transition unfolding before our eyes.

Fear not, read papers now and again.



Copyright © Leo Foresta 2012


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