April 08, 2009

What we have is a genetically modified Black Swan

Sir if you throw a coin, betting on head or tail, and then suddenly it lands on its side then that is a real and natural Black Swan event. But, if you alter the coin in such a way that it must land on its side, more sooner than later, then when that happens can no longer be referred to as a real and natural Black Swan since it is a manmade event. At best we could perhaps refer to it as a genetically modified Black Swan.

The current financial crisis would not have happened had the regulators not empowered some few credit rating agencies as their official risk surveyors and these had not with their AAA signs guided the risk adverse herds of capital in an absolutely wrong direction.

In this respect it is truly surprising that Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a scholar on Black Swans, does not include among his “Ten principles for a Black Swan-proof world”, April 8, the importance of not forcing or stimulating the world to follow the opinions of just a few.