Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Financial feng shui bollocks

The world faces its greatest financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression. If there was ever a time to make prudent, rational, decisions based on a clear-sighted analysis of the facts, now is it. And yet Reuters decided to publish this piece of utter nonsense about what feng shui “masters” predict for the rest of the financial year. (I first saw it syndicated in the business section of South Africa’s Sunday Independent). Apparently, 2009 is the “Year of the Ox” and also a “yin earth” year, which means it “will be the most peaceful year globally since 2000” and the markets will thus be “calmer, if subdued”. Vincent Koh, a Singaporean feng shui “master”, advises that you avoid “high-risk assets” and remain patient. He also thinks banks will “continue to be reluctant to lend”, diseases will spread and natural disasters (landslides, floods and earthquakes) will strike the northern hemisphere (but not exclusively).

Sigh. I probably don’t need to say this, but there is just no reason at all to think that feng shui is anything other than silly superstition invented when humanity didn’t know any better. (Yes, it’s ancient. But that doesn’t mean anything). Feng shui may be interesting, or stimulating, or valuable in some vague sense, but it’s very likely false and it’s almost certainly worthless as a tool for predicting the future or ‘attracting wealth’. Look at those predictions again: they’re almost all either uselessly vague or high-probability hits. You don’t need a magical ability to detect 'metaphysical energies' to tell you 2009 will likely be calmer than 2008 – last year was so tumultuous that regression to the mean alone predicts that. And of course diseases will spread, landslides will occur, floods will sweep in and earthquakes will strike. That happens every year. And of course most of these will occur in the northern hemisphere: there are more people there (so we’re more likely to hear about it) and there is more land there (so they’re more likely to occur in the first place). And, of course avoiding “high-risk assets” is a good idea. But my gran could have told you that. And of course banks will still be reluctant to lend, it’s still not clear how much certain toxic assets are worth (if anything at all), so banks continue to be risk averse.

Despite some token skepticism in the article about how financial feng shui doesn't have a great track record, overall, the article is credulous crud. The Reuters editors ought to be ashamed of themselves for publishing such irresponsible and irrational bollocks.

3 comments:

  1. Now I've seen everything ... I just felt I had to say that but, of course, humanity's ability to invent woo-woo explanations for things is an infinitely deep bag-o-tricks so I don't really expect I've seen everything.

    Perhaps I should just say "facepalm" instead.

    I wonder if the people of Gaza and Sri Lanka feel that 2009 has been the "most peaceful year since 2000". But only one month has passed, let's give Vincent Koh a chance ... *rolls eyes*.

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  2. I have to pay almost 150 ZAR more in rent a month since my landlord was so "nice" to have our flat re-decorated according to fengshui.

    That is 40 "stir fried noodles with veggies"-lunches a month!
    Or 10L of beer a month!!!!

    i hate feng shui

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  3. It's shocking stuff, well scolded.

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