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Forecast: What Physics, Meteorology, and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us about Economics
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Forecast: What Physics, Meteorology, and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us about Economics

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Picture an early scene from "The Wizard of Oz" Dorothy hurries home as a tornado gathers in what was once a clear Kansas sky. Hurriedly, she seeks shelter in the storm cellar under the house, but, finding it locked, takes cover in her bedroom. We all know how that works out for her.Many investors these days are a bit like Dorothy, putting their faith in something as solid ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published March 1st 2013)
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Markets are not Gaussian distributions, they behave according to power laws (think earthquakes). Markets have long memories. Keynes saw markets as beauty contests, where the key is to guess which contestants the judges (or other participants) will favor. Equilibrium is irrelevant, as markets have positive feedbacks, especially when many parties have the same strategy. Markets are predictable when the number of participants is lower than the number of possible outcomes.

Economists have avoided try
Alvaro Raba
It was a really interesting analogy to compare financial markets to the weather. Markets are unpredictable and sometimes erratical and require an interdisciplinary approach to be fully comprehended. I couldn't help but thinking on the "river" concept Buchanan used on his network book and thinking how markets could be really similar to a river. Every one of them is different, it has it's own course and is affected by outside forces that make them go into motion. The neoclassical thought of equili ...more
Ethan Jacobs
- Good but not great. He seems to play the same double-meaning game with the word "rational" that he accusess economists of playing with "efficient." Otherwise, very thought-provoking, although off-puttingly negative at times. If his intended audience is economists, Buchanan might do better to guide them to his truth instead of trying to chop them down at the fundamentals.
Amrahs Jarihd
One of the many books to come out of the 2008 financial crisis. It is a good book, instructing on the fragility of economic systems and the uncertainty of prediction, and exposing the shaky theoretical foundations on which much of economic edifice is built.
A clearly written and informed perspective on the reasons traditional economic models continue to be useless in modeling actual economic activity through the ongoing devotion to equilibrium models. This pairs well with Nate Silver's The Signal and Noise, particularly in its focus on how the development of weather forecasting models (in terms of model construction and partially on results obtained) can provide a path forward to develop better models by understanding the dynamics of underlying phe ...more
A bit too much for the general reader, but good points and interesting ideas for using physics/natural sciences methods on economic forecasting.
This is a necessary book. It demonstrates in a clear and evidence-based manner why economics as it is currently taught is little better than reading tea leaves. It also points to some more hopeful signs that techniques developed for analysing dynamic systems in other fields might be used to create understanding of how markets actually behave in the real world.
Peter Mcloughlin
Not bad. It is a book about the instability of markets and the rejection of a central idea in economics that equilibrium are stable and markets are efficient. The book argues the opposite is the case.
Ecoute Sauvage
Interesting, well documented - and deserves a better editor.
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Forecast book author 1 2 Mar 13, 2013 06:31PM  
A physicist and author based in Europe writing mostly about science - physics, mathematics, social science and biology.
More about Mark Buchanan...
Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen الذرة الاجتماعية: لماذا يزداد الأثرياء ثراءً والفقراء فقرًا ؟

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“Economics is a discipline for quiet times. The profession, it turns out, … has no grip on understanding how the abnormal grows out of the normal and what happens next, its practitioners like weather forecasters who don’t understand storms. —Will Hutton, journalist The Observer, London” 2 likes
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