Thursday, February 5, 2009

What Bernanke and Paulson Have in Common With Soccer Goalies

Wow, this is great stuff. The NY Times reports on a study showing that soccer goalies almost always dive to the right or the left when intercepting penalty kicks, even though their odds of stopping the ball are best when they simply stay put in the center.

So why do they jump?
"Because, the academics theorized, the goalies are afraid of looking as if they’re doing nothing — and then missing the ball. Diving to one side, even if it decreases the chance of them catching the ball, makes them appear decisive. 'They want to show that they’re doing something,' says Michael Bar-Eli, one of the study’s authors. 'Otherwise they look helpless, like they don’t know what to do.'"
..."And it may not be just goalies that operate in this fashion. Bar-Eli suspects the behavior erupts during financial crises too....the same goes for presidents and politicians, who face enormous pressure to “fix” the economy even if they haven’t got a clue what to do."
This perfectly articulates a deep-seated feeling I've had lately that the fiscal powers that be are simply flailing in order to seem authoritative.

Per the old Zen joke, "Don't just do something...stand there!"

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