Excel Ruining the World?

One of the problems with spreadsheets is that it is so easy to introduce errors, especially as the size and complexity increase. We feel that SurvivalWare, with its English-like modeling language underpinning the calculations, is less prone to errors and more transparent. So of course I was mesmerized by the recent brouhaha over the Reinhart / Rogoff study, which tied high levels of government debt to low growth in the global economy. What I didn’t realize until I read this article on CNN Money, is that there are several other high profile examples of spreadsheets going wild in recent history. Spreadsheet mischief had a role in the London Whale epsiode, MF Global’s demise, and Fannie Mae overstating its results.

I love the title of the article: Damn Excel! The ‘most important software application of all time’ is runing the world.