Sunday, October 26, 2008

Analogy at the core of the financial meltdown

People in my research group are tired of hearing the phrases that either meaning is constructed out of experience, or it is constructed out of analogies. Over and over they have heard the phrase: "consider DNA: DNA is like a zipper, computer code, etc..." (I think I can safely assume readers of this blog know the drill.). Right after the DNA thing: I ask, now, what's this thing called a collateralized debt obligation that's just bringing the whole financial meltdown? And we get astonished faces as nobody has any good analogy (or anchors in semantic space--a rather technical name for it).

But now the fun has been spoiled. Check this out:

Crisis explainer: Uncorking CDOs from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Here are more: The credit crisis as Antartic expedition, & untangling credit default swaps. These are very worth of your time, unless you happen to be the George Soros amongst our readers.

Finally, here's a link Anna's just pointed out: The Metaphor Observatory.