How's this for a visual metaphor?

One for the economist's album.


I thought my holiday snap from Australia of a black swan plus audience might be of interest. As keen New Statesman readers will know, a black swan -- as made famous by Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book -- is an unpredictable and rare event.

It was assumed all swans were white until the end of the 17th century, when black swans were discovered in Australia.

The financial crisis was an event many standard deviations away from what was expected. The Asian economies have remained onlookers . . . so far.

David Blanchflower is economics editor of the New Statesman and professor of economics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire