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Saturday, October 4

Didn't we put our best boys to work in i-banking?

Over the years I saw and wondered at the recruitment patterns at I-banks and other top notch financial institution. They took BTechs, MBAs and PhDs, in Mathematics, Computer Science and even Physics. These were some of the best brains around, armed with the best education our society offered. And we hoped we were in secure hands.

Only that the mess we see now tells us we were not. It is one thing to be able to crunch numbers, to be able to understand and beat complex dynamics of markets, to churn profits years after years for your employers. Putting it all in perspective and seeing the big picture is another. When profit is the only marker one gets judged by, soon or later it will stop mattering where it came from. It has happened again and again but alas ! our greed gets better of us every time.

I think, at one level, it all comes back to the familiar question of responsibility of science. Just because something can be done, should it be done? Packaging bad intentions into a intellectually stimulating exercise and putting your best boys on executing it, the fault has to lie with those at the helm. For those who just played along, without worrying about where all this might lead to, here is a exchange between two famous mathematicians/scientists (I fail to recall the names right now) that seems to describe their mental state:

"If I can prove that you would die 10 minutes from now, though that thought will sadden me a little, the joy of being able to prove something like that will outweigh it easily."

And then again, if I am being paid millions to prove that, even better.