Mark Buchanan

Mark Buchanan News

  • Is Inequality Approaching a Tipping Point?

    We know that inequality is on the rise around the world: The richest 1 percent command almost half the planet’s household wealth, while the poorest half have less than 1 percent. We know a lot less about why this is happening, and where it might lead.

  • If You Think Innovation Is Dead, Meet the Hydra

    Is the process of discovery hitting a dead end? Are there ever fewer paradigm-shifting revelations to be had? These questions speak more to the poverty of our imagination than to our grasp of reality.

  • A Bar May Be the Place to Understand Markets: Buchanan

    The aftermath of the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy in 2008 was a scary time: One measure of stock-market volatility, known as the VIX or the “fear index,” reached a peak daily closing price of more than 80, compared with about 18 today. Scarier is the knowledge that we’ll be there again sometime. That’s how markets go: Unexpected chaos is the rule.

  • Hey, Economists: People Are Complicated

    The field of economics is desperately in need of a paradigm shift if it wants to play a role in improving the lot of humanity. Instead, mainstream economists keep trying to get away with tiny tweaks in their fundamentally flawed way of looking at the world.

  • Credit-Default Swap Risk Bomb Is Wired to Explode: Mark Buchanan

    The European sovereign debt crisis stands as the latest in a long line of similar crises. Argentina in 2001. Russia in 1998. Mexico in 1994. The list goes back into history. Debt crises are about as natural as earthquakes, but this time there is something different -- and possibly more dangerous.

  • Higgs Boson Born of Physicists’ Love of Metaphor: Mark Buchanan

    It’s an iconic image: the professor of physics, wild hair, Einstein-like, standing before a chalkboard covered with arcane equations. It could be Einstein himself, the scribbled mathematics describing his theory of relativity and the link between mass and energy, E=MC2.

  • Einstein on Wall Street, a Time-Money Continuum: Mark Buchanan

    What is the value of time? This question was once a matter for philosophers such as Plato or Aristotle. Today economists claim to know the answer. The future, they say, is “discounted” because the value of having something or some amount of cash is greater than the value of having that same thing or amount of money a year from now.

  • Buchanan: Sand in Machine Makes a Stable Market

    Efficiency is generally a good thing. We don’t want our car engines to waste fuel through internal friction or the heat from our furnaces to slip out the window.

  • Buchanan: With High-Speed Trading, the Market Cannot Hold

    Last year, when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission came out with its final report on the flash crash, the stomach-churning event of May 6, 2010, that wiped $1 trillion of value from the markets in less than 30 minutes, it never managed to explain why the episode happened.

  • Mandelbrot Beats Economics in Fathoming Markets: Mark Buchanan

    The possible collapse of the European monetary union, at least in its current form, brings home the truth that there’s little in economics that is certain. We’re again “thinking the unthinkable,” as we were a few years ago when we suddenly realized that financial engineering hadn’t banished financial crises, and that 70 years of relative stability since the Great Depression didn’t guarantee a thing.

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