WHY STOCK MARKETS CRASH: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems DIDIER SORNETTE

In this book, a scientist, Sornette, treads on economists' territory. She applies cutting-edge thinking in the field of complexity and the theory of critical phenomena to the inner workings of the stock market to predict the market's peaks and valleys. AS Sornette points out, "Market crashes exemplify in a dramatic way the spontaneous emergence of extreme events in self-organizing systems." Generally, economists use events occurring in short time scales--hours, days, or weeks--to explain stock market crashes. Sornette argues, to contrary, that only months and years of ascending market prices--a bubble--can explain a crash. In a bubble, the market is in an unstable phase, and any small disturbance can trigger its instability. In much the same way that geologists and social scientists predict earthquakes and demographic changes, physical- and statistical-modeling techniques can forecast stock prices, the author argues. In making such postulations, Sornette predicts that the end of the world's economic-growth era will occur around 2050. Originally published in hardcover in . Princeton U Pr, , 421 p., b&w illus,, paperback, $19.95.

COPYRIGHT Science Service, Inc.

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