Patterns in the dark: understanding risk and financial crisis with complexity theory

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Wiley, Apr 29, 1999 - Business & Economics - 222 pages
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Patterns in the Dark is that rare book that offers an entirely new perspective on an issue of ongoing concern to investors: the unpredictability of financial markets. In this groundbreaking work, leading investment strategist and authority on chaos theory Edgar
Peters makes accessible ways of understanding market behavior that--until now--were
known only to specialists. In a lucid and engaging style, Peters explains how processes
with a large number of independent agents, such as free markets, can spontaneously
organize themselves into a coherent system. He draws on the work of the Austrian school
of economics and complexity theory to show how free markets are by their nature
continually evolving complex systems that require uncertainty to operate successfully.
Using everyday examples, Peters shows how complex systems use uncertainty to adapt to
changes in their environment and to absorb unexpected shocks. As proof, he cites
instructive examples of how rash or heavy-handed attempts to eliminate uncertainty in
markets have invariably led to disaster. Patterns in the Dark draws on a broad range of
human knowledge and experience to clarify the behavior of a system that now operates on
a global, 24-hour, and thoroughly interconnected basis. Peters illuminates the complex
operation of the marketplace by including keen observations drawn from science,
mathematics, and artistic creation as well as economics. His models include the social
vision of the Austrian economists, Darwinian ideas of evolution, the laws of physics, and
the creative risks of the artist. His meditations on financial markets weigh the effects of
limitations vs. rules, risk vs. uncertainty, and order vs. chaos. As a guide to a world
marketplace that has become increasingly complex anti uncertain, Patterns in the Dark
offers the investor a rich source of insight, illumination, and wisdom.

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About the author (1999)

EDGAR E. PETERS is Chief Investment Strategist for PanAgora Asset Management. He is the author of Chaos and Order in the Capital Markets: A New View of Cycles, Prices, and Market Volatility and Fractal Market Analysis: Applying Chaos Theory to Investment and Economics, both published by Wiley.

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