Banks as bacteria

Scientist Harvey Rubin suggests a new financial regulatory system based on the adaptive abilities of bacteria in nature (New Scientist).

Two results in particular will resonate with the financial sector.

One predicts which bacterial genes are essential and which can be knocked out without killing the organism.

This is the bacterial version of asking “is this bank too big to fail; if I get rid of it, will the whole system crash?”

The second models how flocks of birds or schools of fish perform collective tasks without centralised coordination. It is not a big stretch to propose that financial group behaviour, like panic selling, may be analysed using these tools.

I think, under this system, Anglo Irish Bank would have been rejected as non essential.