Since it first appeared in trading rooms, the discipline of mathematics has had an important role. It has given rise to the development of such a wide range of sophisticated products that many people have blamed it for the recent difficulties associated with banks and credit derivatives. Nassim Taleb argues that the only problem is the inappropriate use of mathematical models which have been unwisely applied to the tails of probability distribution curves. Alexis Bonnet contends that it is quite simply the lure of profit which has prompted the deliberate implementation of extreme leverage techniques which, even though they are ingenious, are simply dishonest. Pierre-Noël Giraud suggests that by giving the impression of propping up financial forecasts which subsequently become predictions, mathematics has a calming effect on our contemporaries who have to deal with a future which is uncertain. Extremely high salaries earned by traders are proof of the extent to which the seemingly important element of prediction has become established in our society's unconsciousness.
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