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Posts tagged ‘COVID’

Data and the interpretation thereof!


The following is excerpted from an article titled What Bitcoin Price Predictions Teach Us About Tribalistic Thinking, which appeared in MEDIUM. I am impelled to excerpt the same below as my paraphrasing abilities wouldn’t come anywhere near the lucidity with which the idea had been expressed.

It all boils down to this. There are two kinds of people, or tribes, in the world: those who believe in technical analysis (or fill in the blank with your favorite tribe), and those who don’t. I happen to fall in the latter camp, in part because that was my academic upbringing, and yet some of my own research is not consistent with the EMH. I’m willing to be convinced to switch tribes if there is compelling evidence. Despite his harsh words, even Malkiel is also able to make the case for why technical analysis might work: for example, he points out that “the crowd instinct of mass psychology” of investors jumping on the bandwagon could propel stock prices in a continuation of a trend. I tend to put a lot of weight in the academic evidence. That being said, there is so much subjectivity in the interpretation of charts that it’s very difficult for academics to devise a test of their efficacy. What I do know is that I’ll be watching bitcoin’s price closely to see if it penetrates the neckline, and if it does, how far it drops.

There’s a much broader take-away beyond the relatively narrow realm of investing. Whatever “tribes” you belong to, make sure you understand where the other tribes are coming from. Listen and learn, even if you don’t agree with them. Don’t just go out and buy Technical Analysis of Stock Trends and become a chartist. Don’t just go out and buy A Random Walk Down Wall Street and become an EMH-er. Buy both books, give it some thought, investigate, and then perhaps join a tribe. I’m glad I have both books on my bookshelf.

Listen to opposing points of view. Keep an open mind. Look at the evidence. Be mindful of all of the tribes you belong to and be respectful to those that you don’t belong to.

Stephen Foerster is a co-author, with Andrew Lo, of In Pursuit of the Perfect Portfolio: The Stories, Voices, and Key Insights of the Pioneers Who Shaped the Way We Invest, Princeton University Press (August 17, 2021).

To transpose this idea to the data on COVID from STATISTA would be very interesting. STATISTA, seems to me to be the best source for data since they obtain their data from both governmental sources, the NGOs and various other sources and try to arrive at a harmonised data set, which I think is credible.

The data put out by the Governments have to be aligned with the earlier proclamations made, the preparedness for the future and most importantly facts have to be trimmed to keep the morale of its citizens high, and even project to the other nations that they are performing as per the international outcomes.

NGOs have their own charter and they go around ferreting for data from sources, not yet factored by the Governmental sources, and bring out the discrepancies to malign the parties performing the functions of the Government. In between these ideologically presented forces lies the Commercial interest of the various medical interests, which are profit driven! In this melee to arrive at the facts and consequently project the future trajectory would be impossible. As such, it is better as suggested, at the close of the excepted portion, to know both the interpretations, not merely for the purpose of choosing or identifying where one belongs but also to sympathetically view the other point of view.

Being a Protestant, I did not subscribe to the concept of the LIMBO or the PURGATORY. But when ranged against two massive interests, instead of being an ignorant onlooker and being swayed by the power of the Heaven and the Hell, better to be in a place to observe both and at least feel good with a falsely inflated sense of understanding!

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