In Business Week, a harsh article with a tough title:"Wall Street's Crime Against Humanity"
The point made in this great article is that greed created a system in which
we see that just about everyone accepted a reckless system that rewards transactions but rejects responsibility for the consequences of those transactions.True, but I also think that putting the blame on Wall Street is too easy. I think that the main problem in this financial crisis is that information systems and mathematical models used in the finance industry have become so sophisticated that eventually nobody really understands how they work. People use them without any critical thinking on the assumptions behind the underlying models, especially with respect to risk management. It has something to do with the Stanford Prison Experiment, where basic students started behaving like demons because they were placed in a system that called for this kind of behavior, and because they did not find the courage within themselves to apply critical thinking to what they were doing.Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote a whole book on this: "The Black Swan"
So one word of wisdom for our knowledge economy could be: use with extreme cautious any computer-based application that you don't fully understand inside out. This holds for sophisticated trading software as well as for Facebook or Twitter. I am sometimes appalled by the carelessness of many clueless users of those tools who put themselves at risk as well as others because they don't spend enough time to try and understand.