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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"Modern financial theory ..." Letter c/o FT

humanistic --------------------------------------- mechanistic

"... for their quantitative models based on equilibrium, efficiency and rationality. By co-opting methods from the physical sciences, a bewildering array of fancy-looking graphs and complex equations was soon spawned. Having stripped out the fuzziness of mortal endeavours, these neo-economists were freed to use their slide-rules on a quantitative version of our world. ... Their Möbius-strip models go everywhere and arrive nowhere." (2)

"Since the early writings of 13th century theologians such as Thomas Aquinas, what we call economics had been taught as a broad discipline covering politics, society, ethics, husbandry and moral philosophy. But by the 19th century, academics such as Vilfredo Pareto, Alfred Marshall and Thorstein Veblen had jettisoned humanistic thinking ..." (1)

"For the rest of the 20th century, the cult of quants purged humanity from the study of finance. This was a big mistake. We don't build businesses, work in offices, service customers or sell products to satisfy arcane algorithms.
We pursue a very human set of needs: food, shelter, status, community and well-being. Economics needs to be re-entered on human ad societal conduct - however messy and irrational it actually is." (3) Aron Miodownik

Aron Miodownik, Modern financial theory is built on conceit, Letters, FT Weekend, 9-10 December 2017, p.10.