One of the more bizarre quotes in recent years was Donald Rumsfeld’s sparkingly obfuscatory prose-poem on the inscrutability of existence (from a Feb. 12, 2002, press briefing):
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.
It pales against Rumsfeld’s work, but the International Monetary Fund took a shot at similar opacity in its communique leading up to last weekend’s biannual meeting. In worrying aloud about another crisis like that caused by the collapse of Long Term Capital Management in 1998, the IMF said:
“We still do not know what we do not know about hedge funds, and efforts to improve our surveillance and understanding of their market activities should be supported.”