I frequently read Mark Buchanan's Blog The Physics of Finance and I enjoy reading it and being interested in complex systems (complex economy) I get new insight when reading it. And I agree that positive feed backs often drive markets away from equilibriums and that this can have big consequences ...
I referred to The Physics of Finance here, here, here, here, ...
I understand our money system as a universal system that is programmable - solid enough to store values and fluid (liquid) enough to make "signal" transitions (as media for economic transactions). And the financial instruments are part of the programming. And I see that the programming went really bad and led to turbulent market regimes ....
Maybe, I am quite alone with this extreme view of programmability? But I am brave enough to use it against the following arguments in Is finance different than medicine?
In the post M. Buchanan refers to a paper whose writers (University of Chicago) propose the idea of a Food and Drug Administration for finance. And this applies that finance is like medicine.
It begins that I dislike the idea that financial products are socially beneficial when they help people insure risks, but when these same products are used for gambling they can instead be socially detrimental (citation of the original paper).
This, IMO, mistakes risk and danger? Risk is two sided (danger is only one sided) and consequently there is optimal risk. And, hedgers, arbitrageurs and speculators live in co-evolution - provocatively speaking: no hedging without speculation.
But let me jump to medicine. The famous Chinese medicine was built on a system that was characterized by structure-me-this. The medical experts brewed something customized to an illness. Given a problem - searched for a solutions. Quality assurance and danger management by the celebrities was quite brutal, but a posteriori - head for a bad result.
When medicine became much more systematic and standardized, drug production became industrial and inevitably quality assurance and danger management related to drugs must be a priori and for a class of illnesses studying the effects and side effects.
Structure-me-this is only possible in small bands? If you suffer from volatile blood-pressure you know how difficult it is to tune your medication. Medicine needs to create adequate tools against the danger of illness. In general, there is no optimal risk in your individual health system?
FDA tries to safe us from major danger, bad (side)effects, ...
Structure-me-this in finance is an important programming tool? But you can apply even better local programming by simulation - test portfolios across scenarios ... And you will understand in the first place which instruments are toxic in which configurations and market regimes.
No, medicine is not a universal programmable system - therefore it needs FDA.
In finance it would be even easier to install and manage. But with unintended consequences? Optimal risk you know where the door is?
BTW, we, at UnRisk, would most probably benefit from a much stricter regulation regime.