December 24, 2012

In this age of media driven besserwissers we need to be more skeptical than ever about “expertise”

Sir, John Lloyd writes “It is a source of [British] pride that disorganization is transformed into magnificence” but “that now some have developed an anxiety about muddling through, and the lack of strategic thinking among leaders in public life”, and concludes in “That those who command the public and private summits of the future should be schooled away from the temptation to avoid recognizing complexities”, “Class notes from a course on the age of complexity” December 24. 

Yes! But also… No! Because sometimes the best and only cure to an excessive complexity is simplicity, and so it is vital for those involved in strategic thinking, never ever to consider themselves so superior so as to be capable to manage any complexity. 

Equally, in this age of media driven besserwissers, it is more important than ever for the society to remain healthy skeptical knowing that even the most reputable experts can be very wrong. 

For instance, the primary cause for the bank and economic crisis happening and for the real economy not recovering, lies squarely with the bank regulator “experts”. Arrogantly thinking themselves to be capable of managing the risks for the world, with their capital requirements based on perceived risk, and their risk-weights, they expelled all common sense from markets and banks. 

And five years after the outburst of the crisis nothing has really been corrected, and instead much has been made worse, only because, as a society, we find it so hard to accept that experts can be so incredibly dumb. 

But I assure you, there is no limit for how dumb experts can be, especially when gathered in a mutual admiration club where no one is held accountable. Occupy Basel!