The rules of theoretical physics

The New Yorker has a discussion of new books by Lee Smolin and Peter Woit here. Both authors discuss the problem with String Theory – that it isn’t a theory at all, in the conventional scientific sense of making predictions that, if false, disprove the theory. Both authors suggest part of the problem is that […]

The utility of complexity

A recent article in Salon (watching an ad required to enter) nicely captures one of the preoccupations of this blog. It begins with a discussion of an essay by Devesh Kapur, The Knowledge Bank. Paraphrasing slightly, Kapur suggests that economic consultants are not primarily motivated by finding successful outcomes: The very nature of academia means […]

Multi-factor interest rate models

There are at least three things that make interest rate derivative modelling really hard. It has all the problems of equity derivative modelling, including dealing with the volatility surface,–and data for out of the money implieds isn’t often plentiful. It concerns a curve rather than a single underlying, and there are various obvious constraints, like […]

World Bank, World of Banks

From the Guardian: World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz denied that there was a row with Britain, despite the announcement earlier this week by Hilary Benn, the international development secretary, that Britain would withhold £50m of funding unless the Bank started to lend money to poor countries without onerous strings attached. This rang an ominous bell […]

If only Tony and Gordon had paid more attention to Blake’s 7

Selected points from a most amusing list ALL I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM BLAKE’s SEVEN directly relevant to today’s Labour leadership: * Trust is only dangerous when you have to rely on it. * It is frequently easier to be honest when you have nothing to lose. * The art of leadership […]

Leave the managers alone

I read something rather ill-judged the other day: Managers do not create wealth; at best, they assist others (workers) to create it; at worst, they not only produce nothing, they are actually, literally counter-productive, imposing time-wasting non-work which impedes productivity by wasting time and energy. There is no opposition between efficiency and justice; on the […]