The Full English Accompaniment – Idle Speculation

The effects of COVID-19 have extended into all walks of life. Most of us have been distracted by the stock market crash, bare shops, lack of social contact and the spectre of death stalking the land. In the meanwhile the housing market has also been shuttered, with BoJo & Co telling people to delay house moves and cancel viewings until after it’s all over (1, 2). In an industry that was already wounded, these effects may be the death knell for staggering companies. The post-COVID-19 probate boom looks a long way ahead. Not that any of this matters, since companies like Halifax/ Lloyds and Barclays are pulling their mortgage products (3, 4). Staffing rather than liquidity apparently. Though the use of repayment holidays and the inability to survey property for pricing is definitely going to feed into it (5, 6). Like most things in these uncertain times, we’re not going to know the truth of it until we’re out of the crisis zone.

In such times speculation reigns supreme. We turn to ‘experts’ for advice on the stock market (7). Misunderstanding, misinterpretation of the facts and conspiracy theories are spreading. During the first 4 weeks of January 2020 there were over 15 million Twitter posts on the topic (8). Those posts are unlikely to give a balanced view of the science. To quote Joana Gonçalves-Sá and her Nature Medicine commentary:

“Overall, it is possible that people sharing such misinformation overestimate their ability to understand very complex problems and might be experiencing a form of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which states that people are often more confident than they are knowledgeable. This may be exacerbated by a lack of trust in institutions, be they governments, the pharmaceutical industry, or the traditional media.” (8)

Our old friend the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The argument to explain Trump. We’re unaware of our overconfidence when we should be demonstrating intellectual humility. The world is full of cognitive blind spots (9).

Image Credit: (9)

Social media is the vector in the viral spread of disinformation (8, 10). I really love this tongue-in-cheek article on Medium, framing it as DKE-19 (10).

“Signs of DKE-19 generally appear 3–5 days after learning that the word “epidemiology” is not the study of skin diseases…

DKE-19 is in the same family of misinformation viruses as the one that caused the b00m3R-FB outbreak in 2016. It is transmitted person-to-person through a variety of means, including listening to/repeating bullshit while on the toilet (“feco-aural transmission”), and sharing dirty tweedles.” (10)

Image Credit: (10)

The amount of misinformation out there is frankly staggering, so don’t contribute to it. Engage social media distancing. Pick relevant and trusted providers. As a starter, try Richard Lehman’s weekly round up in BMJ Opinion (11). Tomas Pueyo’s excellent The Hammer and The Dance, with 10 million views, is a longer explanatory piece (12). As for day to day updates, if you really fancy pushing your knowledge meddit has a daily Megathread for COVID-19 discussing the latest science – here’s the 28th/29th (13). The subreddit is for medical professionals only and layperson questions/ comments will be deleted. It’s heavily moderated, and layered in medic-chat. You likely need a medic on tap just to wade through our acronyms/ slang/ approach, but the discussions of the latest science and data are detailed and there’s some amazing views from the frontline. Choose your sources wisely, and cut the crap.

Keep handwashing, and take care!

The Shrink

COVID-19:

Life goes on:

Comment/ Opinion:

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/26/housing-market-frozen-by-government-during-coronavirus-lockdown
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52051174
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/mar/26/halifax-withdraws-majority-of-mortgages-coronavirus
  4. https://www.financialreporter.co.uk/mortgages/barclays-withdraws-almost-all-mortgage-products-above-60-ltv.html
  5. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-8147909/Should-mortgage-hold-three-months.html
  6. https://www.ft.com/content/c08ec3d9-079e-40ff-baae-11388c650f6c
  7. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/investing/article-8138239/What-investments-markets-fall-Five-financial-gurus-respond.html
  8. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0802-y
  9. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/1/31/18200497/dunning-kruger-effect-explained-trump
  10. https://medium.com/@noahhaber/flatten-the-curve-of-armchair-epidemiology-9aa8cf92d652
  11. https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/03/23/richard-lehmans-covid-19-reviews-23-march-2020/
  12. https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56
  13. https://www.reddit.com/r/medicine/comments/fqkf3g/megathread_covid19sarscov2_march_28th29th_2020/
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/27/can-us-reopen-economy-coronavirus
  15. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/25/opinion/coronavirus-trump-reopen-america.html
  16. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/27/trump-pollution-laws-epa-allows-companies-pollute-without-penalty-during-coronavirus
  17. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52065140
  18. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/27/imf-chief-georgieva-says-the-world-is-in-a-recession-containment-will-dictate-strength-of-recovery.html
  19. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2238578-uk-has-enough-intensive-care-units-for-coronavirus-expert-predicts/
  20. http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/news/52357
  21. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-8157781/Stock-markets-fight-FTSE-100-16-5-3-days.html
  22. https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/grow-food-coronavirus-urban-allotments-fruit-vegetables-a9431051.html
  23. https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2020/3/18/21182018/financial-independence-retire-early-fire-early-retirement-mr-money-mustache-pete-adeney
  24. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/21/100-years-on-another-great-depression-coronavirus-fiscal-response
  25. https://www.financialsamurai.com/fire-confessionals-in-a-bear-market/
  26. https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2020/03/how-does-the-market-crash-impact-retirees/
  27. https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2020/03/surviving-your-very-first-market-crash/
  28. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2020/03/coronavirus-impact-on-dividends.html/
  29. http://www.psyfitec.com/2020/03/anchors-weigh.html
  30. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2020/03/27/of-natural-beauty-and-interesting-markets/
  31. https://theescapeartist.me/2020/03/27/the-inestimable-advantages-of-having-a-plan/
  32. http://bankeronfire.com/finding-gratitude-in-challenging-times
  33. https://firevlondon.com/2020/03/21/the-worst-crash-in-history/
  34. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2020/03/21/ten-simple-living-ideas-during-covid-19/
  35. https://indeedably.com/predictive/
  36. https://indeedably.com/i-note/

One thought on “The Full English Accompaniment – Idle Speculation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s