Sunday, October 01, 2006

The wonderful to and fro...

...of the markets, with its mandate to equalize buyers and sellers and its function of bringing goods (both financial and physical) to the present or transporting their worth to the future, has been somthing else as of late.

We see all the usual suspects displaying their gleaming new theories, such as "we are now 10 years without a major crash" or some such argument. But if one looks under the hood of their offers, one finds that none of the marketing peices (which doubtlessly reflect not only their objective opinion, but also their present position in the markets) ever test for randmoness. Testing in this fashion is essential for one to avoid the common errors in thought that overestimate probabilities based on an interesting fact or two. So the Recapitulator asks all to test, among other things, what is guaranteed to happen in a system that has 20% volatility with 10% upward drift.

Carl Sagan once said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof". This is not to dissuade anyone from being bearish during the present and tumultuous times in the market, it is merely a plea not to fall prey to hap-hazard and piecemeal backtesting of financial figures to fit an explanation that one has concluded ex ante to the data gathering.

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