Sunday, February 7, 2010

Roberts on the efficient markets theory

Whenever you see an academic theory that is both utter insane AND has remarkable staying power, chances are someone is making a fortune and this fortune is mostly undeserved.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
The Free Market Fetish
Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan answered that he had placed his trust in a flawed theory when he was called before Congress to explain why he, Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, prevented Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation, a government regulatory agency, from doing her job of regulating over-the-counter derivatives.
The efficient markets theory is that unregulated markets are efficient and rational. According to this theory in which Greenspan placed his trust, unregulated markets produce the best possible result. Any regulatory interference worsens the outcome.
Greenspan blamed his own bad judgment on a theory. The theory, or Greenspan’s understanding of it, nevertheless still holds sway as Congress has proved impotent to re-regulate the gambling casino that is Wall Street. Clearly, the theory serves powerful interests. more

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