Killer Models?

I was just looking up Archimedean copulas, and stumbled across a bunch of articles blaming the Gaussian copula for the crash, like this interesting one at Wired.

Getting into trouble by ignoring covariance actually has a long and glorious history. Want to make your complex device look super reliable? Decompose it into a zillion parts, then assess their collective probability of failure without regard for collateral damage and other feedbacks that correlate the failure of one part with another. Just don’t check for leaks with a candle afterwards.

Still, blaming copulas, or any other model, for the financial crisis strikes me as a lot like blaming a telephone pole for your car crash. Never mind that you were speeding, drunk, and talking on the phone. It’s not the models, but a general predisposition to ignore systemic risk that brought down the system.

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