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I Think This Is Meant To Be Reassuring

The new “interim assistant-secretary for financial stability” overseeing the $700 bank bailoutpalooza is a former NASA engineer:

Officially, Kasahkari will be interim assistant-secretary for financial stability, a world away from the career he envisaged when he left his hometown of Stow in northeast Ohio to study engineering at the University of Illinois.

After graduating, Kashkari worked on NASA space missions including the James Webb telescope project before switching to finance and studying for an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“The whole idea was to combine engineering with finance,” Kashkari’s father Chaman Kashkari, also an engineer, said at the time. “He told me the country needed people who have a good concept of engineering and a good concept of finance.”

According to Peter Dowd, executive dean at the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences and the University of Adelaide, Kashkari’s thinking was perfectly understandable.

“It’s indicative of the change in engineering to what most people would call systems engineering,” Professor Dowd said yesterday.

“The really complex problems we face, be they in the environment or financial or whatever, are interdisciplinary problems that require a systems approach in order not to miss bits of the puzzle.

“Most of what he’ll be doing will be mathematical modelling, but if he really wants to embrace it, he’ll have to take into account human behaviour and the psychology of large groups of people and of individuals. That’s when it becomes really interdisciplinary.”

How about that.

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