The paradox of certainty

As the stock market returns of the last decade crumble into dust, and it becomes clear that the “growth” this country was experiencing was essentially a giant real estate Ponzi scheme, there was an interesting article in the FT re how the future gets ever more difficult to discern:

How do you frame a view of the long run from early 2009? The world has a ruptured financial system. . . The economic recession now encompasses the whole world. The speed of economic decline is without precedent. Government intervention is also without precedent, in its magnitude, depth, and complexity. Fiscal deficits are reaching numbers no one dreamed about even 12 months ago, yet they will have to be financed.

Juxtapose this with a Washington Post Outlook article by Joel Lovell:

It’s weird and disconcerting that after all that has happened there are still so many experts out there willing to dispense wisdom with utter assuredness, day after day, despite having been so spectacularly wrong in the past…..The more terrifying and destabilizing the news, the more the financial-news sages seem to commit themselves to dispensing advice with unblinking certitude.

It’s fascinating to reflect on how much of the political discourse right now presupposes a “rulebook” that—if it only it be interpreted correctly—will provide an infallible guide telling us What To Do, when the truth of the matter is that We Really Don’t Know For Sure.  I suspect this is what Obama meant when (if?) he told Biden that “30 percent of what we do won’t work.” Though if it’s only 30 percent that doesn’t work, then we can count ourselves as fortunate indeed.

My novel The Mirrored Heavens is now available in mass-market at Amazon.

One Response to “The paradox of certainty”

  1. Polter Says:

    Your readers might get a lot out of this explaining this ponsi scheme:

    The Crisis Of Credit, Part 1

    The Crisis Of Credit, Part 2