Monday, 22 June 2009

Each way bet

One of the nice things about Foyle bookshop - despite its Waterstoneisation - is that the staff selections are still charmingly eclectic. Leonardo Sciascia's Equal Danger was one a few weeks ago. Sciascia is an oddity, a novelist who write political polemic disguised as detective stories, a stylist rather than a plotter.

Here's a nice little section. The speaker is talking about Pascal's wager. He generalises:
Today the possibility of making the wager has shifted from metaphysics to history... I would risk losing everything were I to bet against the revolution. But if I bet on it, I lose nothing if it doesn't take place. I win everything if it does.
I feel the same way about regulatory reform. If it isn't necessary and we do it properly, we lose very little. But if it is -- if failure to reform just bakes more systemic risk into the financial system - then failing to reform properly means that we lose a great deal. In this context the gutless Obama plan is worse than thin: it is a bet that may ruin us.

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