Market - Risk Article

From The Jolly Contrarian
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Risk Anatomy™

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The market is an analog in commerce for the ecosystem, but the analogy isn’t perfect. The two competing views, benign and brutish, are not incompatible. In many ways they say the same thing. If the market is a game of Whist, the ecosystem is Black Lady.

In the the ecosystem

  • Competition: The competition for resources is a fight between predators to find prey. And among prey to avoid getting eaten.The winner gets to EAT the prey. This is a good outcome for the winning predator only. It’s a bad outcome for the “winning” prey.
  • It is asymmetric: It doesn’t work in reverse: prey do not compete for the best predator; quite the reverse. [1]
  • It’s a zero to negative sum game: there is some loss of thermal energy or increase in entropy.
  • It is not iterative: a dead man has no memory. Eaten prey are not in a position to learn or remember; conversely predators don’t care about their reputation.
  • It’s a normal distribution: Since there’s no memory, there is no interdependence between hunting trips.

In the market

  • Competition: The commercial competition for resources is a fight between sellers to find a buyer (and vice versa). The winner gets to transact.
  • It is symmetric: A deal is a desired outcome for both parties. Both are “winners”[2]. You can view it from either buyer or seller’s perspective and it looks the same.
  • It is a zero to positive sum game: It is only negative if one or other has traded in error.
  • It is iterative. Each party remembers its treatment at the hands of the other, and can learn from and communicate its experience.
  • It is not a normal distribution: Transactions act as market signals. If everyone sells, so do I. Transactions influence each other. The statistical analyses are not normal.


  1. Though — The Extended Phenotype, a cow selects its farmer, perhaps they do?
  2. Everyone’s a winner, baby.