A few years ago we were assured that complex financial models used by banks could be relied on to correctly assess financial risk. This was supposed to ensure that banks would stay solvent, and the financial system stable. It turned out that insufficient back-testing, subtle pressure on those building the models to produce the “right” results, and the intrinsic problems of complex models, meant that the models were far from good enough.
We are also asked to trust complex models of climate change that predict rising temperatures. I am inclined to distrust complex models in general, but leaving that aside, are these likely to suffer the shortcomings of the bank’s risk models? Continue reading
The fact that people can be convicted using evidence that only exists in electronic form makes it stunningly easy to frame someone, if you can get brief physical access to their computer, or you can fool them into inserting a malicious CD or USB drive into their computer. Here are some methods of doing it. Continue reading
The government has so far come up with two ideas to reduce cap immigration, both of which would be highly damaging to the country:
- Let fewer students in
- Reduce the number of foreign workers
Take the first as it has had less attention. Educating foreign students is highly profitable for Britain and earns huge amount of money. It is like an extended, and far more profitable, version of tourism. Continue reading
This is partly the result of a discussion on Slashdot on why terorists are disproportionately engineers, and partly a follow up to my previous post about the staggering incompetence of most terrorists. There is also the issue of how the media and politicians actively help terrorists achieve their goals. Continue reading
The most discussed problem with my proposals on how to fix capitalism is how one decides which companies to break up, and how one goes about doing it. Needless to say, I do have some answers Continue reading
This is a bit less ambitious than my plan to reform capitalism, but the principles are the same.
Too big to fail is too big to exist
Big banks create too much systemic risk, and are far too much of a strain on government finances when they need to be bailed out. Continue reading
The reactions to my post on fixing capitalism have surprised me: almost everyone who has blogged or tweeted on it agrees with the broad thrust of what I advocate. For proposals so far from the political mainstream, what does that mean? Perhaps is shows how for the politicians are from a popular demand for change. There also a few points that need replies. Continue reading
The recession and the crisis and banking are the least of the reasons for thinking that we need reforms. the crisis of capitalism goes much deeper: the influence big business has on governments (and the warped policies this leads to), increasing central control of the economy and the general move away from free markets.. I have some modest proposals on how to fix capitalism. Continue reading
According to The Observer, the army has a problem with soldiers who do not get a minimum of two hours of physical exercise a week. I know accountants who get more than that. What exactly do the army do with their time? Continue reading
The Irish apparently do not like freedom of speech. Everyone will be subject to the same restriction to prevent speech that might actually criticise beliefs or encourage people to think for themselves, that British broadcasters are already subject to. At leas in Ireland it is the courts that have the final say, in Britain it is Ofcom and the completely unaccountable bureaucrats at the IWF Continue reading