Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Let Physicists run things.

One of the NCAA pools I'm in has a copy of Obama's bracket entered, and the last I checked, I'm a couple of games up on him. This means I'm as qualified as anyone else to offer a plan to fix the financial crisis, and I have just the plan we need.

Well, with qualifications like that, I'm all ears! This is how Chad Orzel opens his post at Uncertain Principles. His solution is simple: Fire every financial mover and shaker, and replace them with the most maligned of the mathematicians: physicists.

"But wait," you say. "The current mess is a hopeless web of incredibly complicated transactions, and there's lots of money to be lost if you don't have experienced financial professionals to unwind things."

This is wrong on several levels. First and foremost, the people who are pushing that line the hardest are the people who stand to benefit most from large windfall payments to the current financial industry. Which is to say, the people who have wrecked the economy by failing to understand the most basic facts of the underlying market. They have lots of experience, to be sure, but the bulk of their experience is in being wrong about everything. They lost billions to a Ponzi scheme, for God's sake.

And, seriously, do you really think that these transactions are too complicated for physicists to figure out? We're talking about people who have spent the last several years thinking about folding and twisting strings in eleven dimensions. Unless the transaction records are all encrypted in some private cipher, they'll have no trouble figuring it out. And even if they are encrypted, that will only slow things down a little-- given what we know about the rocket scientists on Wall Street, the cipher key is probably written on a Post-It stuck to the computer. With a magnet.

Argue with that logic, I dare you.

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