The above title is not mine – I pinched it from a blog called Behavioural Macro that someone emailed me a link to. I used it because it is instructive of a number of failings that traders have. The blog this headline comes from is a contradiction – supposedly a blog with a leaning toward behavioural finance yet it is also one which makes predictions about financial markets. You cannot have both – you are either a macro investor who makes predictions or you are a behavioural investor who understands that prediction is a totally fruitless endevour.
For my thoughts on financial market predictions see here, here, here and here and countless other scribblings throughout this blog and our newsletters
My final thoughts are from The New Yorker –
It is the somewhat gratifying lesson of Philip Tetlock’s new book, “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?” (Princeton; $35), that people who make prediction their business—people who appear as experts on television, get quoted in newspaper articles, advise governments and businesses, and participate in punditry roundtables—are no better than the rest of us. When they’re wrong, they’re rarely held accountable, and they rarely admit it, either. They insist that they were just off on timing, or blindsided by an improbable event, or almost right, or wrong for the right reasons. They have the same repertoire of self-justifications that everyone has, and are no more inclined than anyone else to revise their beliefs about the way the world works, or ought to work, just because they made a mistake. No one is paying you for your gratuitous opinions about other people, but the experts are being paid, and Tetlock claims that the better known and more frequently quoted they are, the less reliable their guesses about the future are likely to be. The accuracy of an expert’s predictions actually has an inverse relationship to his or her self-confidence, renown, and, beyond a certain point, depth of knowledge. People who follow current events by reading the papers and newsmagazines regularly can guess what is likely to happen about as accurately as the specialists whom the papers quote. Our system of expertise is completely inside out: it rewards bad judgments over good ones.
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