Archive for February 1st, 2006

Tree of diamonds

Rainy becomes sunny and the grey and flat becomes the sparkling of well-cut gems.

A front-page story on The Wall Street Journal on 31 Jan “Greenspan’s Legacy Rests on Results, Not Theories” by Greg Ip (sorry, I read the paper version, so no link) describes Greenspan’s philosophy for running the Fed as based on Bayesian-influenced risk management decision-making where he’s willing to deliberately risk smaller mistakes to prioritize avoiding much bigger ones. Drawing on Isaiah Berlin’s 1953 book categorizing people as having either hedgehog or fox approaches—Berlin got this idea from an ancient Greek, according to the web—Ip argues that Greenspan is a fox. Hedgehogs are those who have pretty fixed single beliefs and they aren’t willing or adept at altering their approaches or viewpoints based on new information. Foxes, on the other hand, draw from an array of traditions, aren’t hidebound, and accept ambiguity as inevitable.

So, are you mostly hedgehog or mostly fox and does it put you mostly in the rain or in the sun?