Jesse Brown: Let’s blame computers for the financial meltdown!

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.


No one seems to be able to clearly explain why the world is suddenly facing a complete economic meltdown, but that hasn’t stopped politicians and pundits from pointing fingers.

The Democrats blame the Republicans (“See? This is what happens when you don’t regulate Wall Street!”). The Republicans blame the Democrats (“See? This is what happens when you let just anyone buy a house!”).

Neither side makes a very compelling case, and so a new culprit has slowly emerged as an all-purpose scapegoat- computers!

The story goes like this: Wall-Street’s math geeks whipped up ridiculously complicated financial algorithms that would shuffle through seas of toxic mortgages, swapping and slicing them into top-rated financial products. The machines were so darn smart (and profitable) that our financial titans had no choice but to leave them in charge of our entire economy.

When the whole enterprise collapsed and the market dipped, other evil computers, which Wall Street had left in charge of stock trading, simultaneously pulled their automatic “sell!” triggers, turning what might have been a minor s#!tstorm into a major clusterf#@k.

Damn computers! What are we supposed to do now- think for ourselves?

Here's a NYTimes Op-Ed with more.

Thanks, Ronan.