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jerryking : worrying   7

How Britons forgot that history can hurt
September 19, 2019 | | Financial Times| by Simon Kuper.

Centuries of stability have created a country careless about risk... the British mainland has meandered along nicely since Newton’s death in 1727: no conquest, dictatorship, revolution, famine or civil war. The sea prevented invasions; coal made Britain the first industrialised power. Few Britons developed strong ideologies that they were motivated to kill for.

How to square this historical stability with the UK’s newfound instability?......What explains Britain’s transformation? I suspect it’s precisely the country’s historical stability that has made many of today’s Britons insouciant about risk. They have forgotten that history can hurt. Other countries remember....their citizens remember how countries can go horribly wrong (see Uganda, the French in Algeria, etc.)......Britain has no comparable traumas. Terrible things do happen there but chiefly to poor people — which is how the country is supposed to work. Even the losses suffered during two world wars have been reconfigured into proud national moments. The widespread American guilt about slavery is almost absent here.

And so, Britain has a uniquely untroubled relationship with its past, and a suspicion of anything new. No wonder the natural ruling party calls itself “Conservative”.

Britain’s ruling classes are especially nostalgic, because they live amid the glorious past: the family’s country home, then ancient public school, Oxbridge and Westminster. They felt Britain was so secure from constitutional outrages that they never bothered to write a constitution.

But it’s wrong to blame British insouciance (embodied by Johnson) on the elite. It extends across all classes. Most Britons have learnt to be politically unserious. Hence their tolerance for toy newspapers they know to be mendacious — Britons’ ironic relationship with their tabloids puzzles many foreigners.

Postwar Britons — the most shielded generation in this shielded country’s history — voted Brexit not out of fanaticism but in a spirit of “Why not?” Many Leave voters argued additionally that “Things can’t get worse”, which any Ugandan could have told them was mistaken. Some Leavers even seemed to crave a bit of history.
'30s  Argentina  Brexit  carelessness  complacency  constitutions  decay  false_sense_of_security  German  history  historical_amnesia  insouciance  ruling_classes  Simon_Kuper  social_classes  United_Kingdom  worrying 
september 2019 by jerryking
Marty Chavez Muses on Rocky Times and the Road Ahead
NOV. 14, 2017 | - The New York Times | By WILLIAM D. COHAN.

Mr. Chavez is about as far from the stereotypical Wall Street senior executive as you can imagine, and that is one reason his musings about the future direction of Wall Street are listened to carefully.

He grew up in Albuquerque, one of five children, who all went to Harvard. He got a doctorate in medical information sciences from Stanford University. (At that time, he was known by his full name Ramon Martin Chavez.)

In 1990, Mr. Chavez came out, the day after he defended his doctoral dissertation. – “Architectures and Approximation Algorithms for Probabilistic Expert Systems.” He is one of the few openly gay executives on Wall Street. ......In his current role as Goldman's CFO, Marty views his job as a simple one that is hard to get right: “I’m not paid or evaluated on the accuracy of my crystal-ball predictions,” he said. “I’m paid to enumerate every possible outcome and do something about every possible outcome well in advance, when it’s still possible to do something, because once it’s happened it’s too late.”....Unlike many of his peers on Wall Street, Mr. Chavez does not complain about the extent of the regulation that hit the financial industry as a result of Dodd-Frank. Generally speaking, he says, the regulations have helped banks “confront their problems and capitalize and bolster their liquidity,” making them “stronger as a result,” and the financial system safer and more profitable.....Instead of complaining about the extra expense and manpower required to comply with the mountain of new regulations, Mr. Chavez chooses instead to think about it differently. “If you approach the regulations as ‘Oh, we’ve got to comply,’ you’ll get one result,” he said. He prefers thinking about the regulations as, “This makes us and the system and our clients safer and sounder, and yes it’s a lot of work, but what can we learn from this work and how can we use this work in other ways to make a better result for our shareholders and our clients? Everywhere we look we’re finding these opportunities and they’re very much in keeping with the spirit of the times.”

Like any good senior Goldman executive, he does worry. (Lloyd Blankfein, the Goldman chief executive, once told me he spent 98 percent of his time worrying about things with a 2 percent probability.)

His biggest concern at the moment is the risk of “single points of failure” in the vast world of cybersecurity (JCK: SPOF). He worries about any individual “repository of information” that does not have a backup and that can “be hacked.”

He does not even trust Goldman’s own computer system; he treats it as a potential enemy.

.....What also makes Goldman different from its peers is the firm’s love affair with engineers. At the moment, he said, engineers comprise around 30 percent of Goldman’s work force of about 35,000. It’s what drew him to Goldman in the first place — to work on Goldman’s in-house software, “SecDB,” short for “Securities Database,” an internal, proprietary computer system that tracks all the trades that Goldman makes and their prices, and regularly monitors the risk that the firm faces as a result.

He said the system generates some million and a half points of data that were used to calculate, for the first time, the firm’s “liquidity coverage ratio” — now 128 percent — and that were shared with regulators every day. He’s been busy trying to figure out how the newly generated data can be used to help him understand what the firm’s liquidity will be a year from now.

That way, he said, in his principal role as Goldman’s chief financial officer, he can perceive a problem in plenty of time to do something about it. “We’re able to get much better actionable insights that make the firm a less risky business because we’re able to go much further out into the future,” he said......
actionable_information  CFOs  cyber_security  databases  Dodd-Frank  engineering  financial_system  Goldman_Sachs  improbables  information_sources  jujutsu  low_probability  Martin_Chavez  proprietary  regulation  SecDB  SPOF  think_differently  Wall_Street  William_Cohan  worrying 
november 2017 by jerryking
To Be a Great Investor, Worry More About Being Wrong Than Right - MoneyBeat - WSJ
By JASON ZWEIG
Dec 30, 2016

The stunning surprises of 2016 should have taught all of us that the unexpected will happen. To be a good investor, you have to be right much of the time. To be a great investor, you have to recognize how often you may be wrong. Great investors like Warren Buffett practice trying to disprove their investing assumptions to determine whether they are correct.

Techniques to combat these cognitive biases:

Shun peer pressure from social media or the Internet. If you reveal your opinion to a group that has strong views, the sociologist Robert K. Merton has warned, the ensuing debate becomes more “a battle for status” than “a search for truth.” Instead, get a second opinion from one or two people you know and can trust to tell you if they think you are wrong.

Listen for signals you might be off-base. Use Facebook or Twitter not as an amen corner of people who agree with you, but to find alternative viewpoints that could alert you when your strategies are going astray.

Write down your estimates of where the Dow Jones Industrial Average, oil, gold, inflation, interest rates and other key financial indicators will be at the end of 2017. If you don’t know, admit it. Ask your financial advisers to do the same. Next Dec. 31, none of you will be able to say “I knew that would happen” unless that’s what the record shows.

Book reference: Keith Stanovich, Richard West and Maggie Toplak point out in their new book, “The Rationality Quotient,” rational beliefs “must correspond to the way the world is,” not to the way you think the world ought to be.
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Commenter:

What investors need to do is focus on their own investments, their strategies for each particular holding, long-term, income-oriented, speculative, etc. and stick to their plan without being distracted by peers and press looking for big headlines.
Warren_Buffett  biases  confirmation_bias  investors  books  Pablo_Picasso  personal_finance  investing  Jason_Zweig  pretense_of_knowledge  self-awareness  self-analysis  self-reflective  proclivities  warning_signs  signals  second_opinions  peer_pressure  DJIA  assumptions  mistakes  personal_economy  surprises  worrying 
january 2017 by jerryking
Beware the Tech Bubble—But Stay Calm - WSJ.com
By Farhad Manjoo

Dec. 29, 2013

two-step guide for reaping the best from tech while staving off the next bout of irrational exuberance. Think of it as my year-end gift to you, a clip-and-save guide for preventing a new tech bubble.

Step 1: Worry. If you're an investor, employee, founder, tech journalist or in some other way connected to the tech business, worrying about the bubble is your best defense against the bubble. Worrying keeps you sharp. Worrying keeps magical thinking at bay. As in the 1990s, the tech industry is pushing grand, society-transforming novelties on the rest of the world. If you're not worried that some of these claims are crazy, you're not paying attention.

Step 2: Don't panic. Don't let your anxiety become all-consuming. If you study the last dot-com boom, you'll see profound differences between what happened then and what's happening now. Unlike in the 1990s, today's public markets have yet to fully buy in to the boom; it's difficult to take a tech company public, and a newly public company can expect to be judged harshly by the press and investors if it shows any sign of weakness. This factor—the stock market's demand for results—is an enormous difference from the last boom. And it is reason enough to hold off on any panic.

Now, I know that my plan—worry, but don't panic—sounds like a glib, easy way to deal with tech's rise. As a columnist, I strive for firmer, less squishy opinions. I want to say, "Hey, keep partying, there's no bubble!" or "Everyone hide, doom awaits, the end is nigh!"

But unfortunately, the truth is more nuanced and complicated. People with an interest in tech should be on guard against the bubble at the same time they are open to the transformative powers of tech.
Silicon_Valley  technology  bubbles  IPOs  skepticism  paranoia  happy_talk  Farhad_Manjoo  keep_calm  wishful_thinking  worrying  panics  tech-utopianism  pay_attention 
december 2013 by jerryking
The man who’s tutoring Bill Gates
June 19, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | Margaret Wente. Discusses
Vaclav Smil at the University of Manitoba. Prof. Smil’s 24th book,
Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next 50 Years, has just been
published in Canada. It offers a numbers-heavy but compact guide to all
the main things we should be worrying about (or not), from natural
disasters to population trends.
billgates  books  Canada  catastrophes  catastrophic_risk  disasters  energy  environment  Margaret_Wente  natural_calamities  politics  worrying 
june 2010 by jerryking
The Intelligent Investor: You Should Be Worried - WSJ.com
* MAY 22, 2010

Legendary Investor Is More Worried Than Ever

*
By JASON ZWEIG
Seth_Klarman  value_investing/investors  Jason_Zweig  worrying 
may 2010 by jerryking
How to Be a Billionaire: Worry!
Monday, Feb. 05, 2001| TIME | By JOSHUA COOPER RAMO. For
George Soros, the problem is not how to make money. That's easy, he
believes. You do that by spotting mistakes. The problem is the mistakes
themselves. Soros thinks that our history, especially economic history,
is sculpted by blunders. It's a radical proposition, as if you suggested
that Botticelli's best art was the result of paint splatters. But Soros
is insistent: mistakes make history. They also make--and
destroy--fortunes. Soros, who made a fortune looking for and finding
mistakes, worries we are making one now. He picks up on these errors by
listening to his money. These days he doesn't like what he
hears..."George is signal," says a Fed adviser, referring to the high
noise-signal ratio among advice givers to Alan Greenspan.

===================================================
From Farhad Manjoo
Step 1: Worry. If you're an investor, employee, founder, tech journalist or in some other way connected to the tech business, worrying about the bubble is your best defense against the bubble. Worrying keeps you sharp. Worrying keeps magical thinking (i.e. happy talk) at bay. As in the 1990s, the tech industry is pushing grand, society-transforming novelties on the rest of the world. If you're not worried that some of these claims are crazy, you're not paying attention.
====================================================
George_Soros  Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  financial_history  wishful_thinking  Kissinger_Associates  pattern_recognition  patterns  moguls  lessons_learned  mistakes  Bank_of_England  financiers  negative_space  investors  signals  worrying  paranoia  human_errors  economic_history  happy_talk  pay_attention 
october 2009 by jerryking

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