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Lies, damned lies & statistics

Sep 16, 2008

"There are three kind of lies - lies, damned lies and statistics," said Benjamin Disraeli. The statement refers to the persuasive power of numbers, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support their positions.

And we have heard and seen enough of these - lies, damned lies and statistics - in recent times.

We now hear one more of this breed (lies and damned lies). The US Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson has urged his countrymen to remain confident in the 'soundness and resilience of the American financial system.'

Mr. Paulson and his fellow policymakers had in fact admitted of being 'on top of the turbulent situation' when Bear Stearns was on the block a few months back. And he had 'clarified' that time that the US' financial institutions, banks and investment banks were robust and that these would come out of the crisis situation very strong.

What has followed thereafter is there for us to see. Banks after banks are going bust, and trillions of dollars of investors' money has disappeared in thin air.

  • Also read - Once in a century crisis

    And Mr. Paulson still maintains his stand of the US financial system being in a 'sound and resilient' condition! All this is while he along with policymakers at the Federal Reserve gamble with depositors' money.

    This is a dangerous game. How awful can that get?


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