Thought for the month

“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction the sign of truth.” Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (1623 – 62).

Friday, 2 December 2011

"May you live in interesting times"

"May you live in interesting times" is an often used phrase and alluded by many to be some ancient Chinese curse. Regrettably, facts frequently get in the way of a good story. The phrase actually appears to be of early 20th century western origin with Robert Kennedy bringing it to prominence in a speech in South Africa in 1966. Whatever the exact origination, it seems fair to say that we are living in challenging and interesting times. Current fiscal matters coupled with the interlocking nature of the global economies has already, and could further, adversely impact many of us. I have neither the ability, nor desire, to attempt to solve the world recession and the plight of the Euro currency in this newsletter. However, in searching for solutions and avoiding repeating past mistakes, I do advocate that more use is made of scientific thinking. The banking fraternity could do well to consider Occam's Razor (simple explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than complex ones). If you cannot explain sub-prime derivative products to your grandmother, think again. Isaac Newton knew a bit about money, he was created Master of the Mint in 1699. His first law of motion should be explained to EU leaders; things only change if you take some positive action otherwise they just carry on.

Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel. Lucas Papademos, Greece's new Prime Minister, is an MIT alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in physics, a master’s degree in electrical engineering as well as a doctorate in economics. Just don't let the latter drag you down Lucas.

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