MIT Sloan Prof. Andrew Lo says, "Everyone lost out last year due to the tremendous volatility in markets. But the typical retail investor is left to their own devices in managing disloction, and some product innovation is needed to help with this."
Some people are blaming the economic crisis on financial engineering and business school education. Similar to how the 1986 space shuttle disaster cannot be blamed on aerospace engineering, it is inaccurate to blame the crisis on technical know-how. Rather, the misuse of technology and poor judgment are to blame. Initial evidence about the current crisis suggests that executives at financial institutions did not deem risk assessments to be important. This suggests a lack of judgment, understanding, and training. As financial markets become more complex, it is becoming harder for conventional, two-year MBA programs to sufficiently train MBA candidates. But education beyond this level typically gets no support from the federal government, unlike other engineering fields. The Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts of Institute of Technology awarded only four PhDs in finance in 2007, similar to other top business schools. To foster greater expertise, it is important to offer scholarships in financial engineering that could be paid for by a small
tax on derivatives transactions. By sufficiently training future leaders to handle financial system risks, it will become easier to withstand financial crises.
Dealing with the new market realities. Two giants of behavioral finance, Yale Professor and "Irrational Exuberance" author Robert Shiller and MIT professor and hedge fund manager Andrew Lo, discuss where the money will be made in the new financial landscape.
The alleged fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff is a timely and powerful microcosm of the current economic crisis, and it underscores the origin of all financial bubbles and busts: fear and greed.
Using techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging, neuroscientists have documented the fact that monetary gain stimulates the same reward circuitry as cocaine — in both cases, dopamine is released into the nucleus accumbens. Similarly, the threat of financial loss activates the same fight-or-flight circuitry as physical attacks, releasing adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream, which results in elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and alertness.