I’ve been obsessed with a movie called Margin Call this summer. If you haven’t seen it, well it’s on Netflix, and it’s an exceptional piece of cinema with a top notch cast reflecting on why finance is so prone to boom and busts. It’s a great office drama even if you have no interest in banking. And it’s only an hour and forty odd minutes w two key Pete Davidson SNL skit criteria. It is both Tucci Gang and a Short Ass Movie.
One of the clincher scenes is Jeremy Irons explaining his job as the bank’s CEO to Zachary Quinto the young rocket scientist turned risk analyst.
I’m here for one reason and one reason alone. I’m here to guess what the music might do a week, a month, a year from now. That’s it. Nothing more. And standing here tonight, I’m afraid that I don’t hear; a; thing. Just — silenceMargin Call
I found this particular scene rather riveting as it reflects both the seeming ease and intense dangers of being in charge. Your entire job boils down to making a few big calls exactly right over a time horizon your average working stiff doesn’t even have the luxury to consider.
I’ve been considering my own preferred time frame on which to make decisions. I’m no Jeremy Irons. I don’t make exceptional calls on what will happen in a few months. I do however have quite a nose for what will unfold over much longer time horizons. I’d trust myself to make the right call over a decade. I scan the horizons.
Which if you are following along with some of my life choices should be modestly unsettling. I moved to Montana to a rural homestead. I invest in early stage startups that fit my chaotic thesis. I am comfortable being labeled a doomer and a prepper because catastrophic emergencies are in inevitability in complex systems.
And it’s hard to imagine a time when complex systems like climate change, geopolitics and macroeconomic trading pressure held more sway than now. Like Jeremy Iron’s character I am listening for the music. And my ear is trained on the silence coming down the pike.