Monday, October 14, 2013
Taleb’s fragile world
How fragile we are. Five years on from the Lehman Brothers collapse, political and regulatory errors have made the world’s financial system even more fragile.
This alarming line of thought comes from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, best known for
The Black Swan
, which explained markets’ difficulties in pricing extreme events for which they had no precedent.
Mr Taleb, who spoke to me in London last week, divides opinion. For some he is a genius, for others a charlatan. What seems clear, however, is that his gloriously charismatic act and polymath choice of imagery, drawn from philosophy, mathematics and the Classics, can get in the way of underlying ideas which are not in fact far-fetched. Indeed they contain a hard kernel of commonsense truth.
Here, then, is an attempt to render Mr Taleb’s poetic arguments in prose. Those wishing to see the man in action can watch the videos on FT.com.
Links to videos:
Taleb’s fragile world, Part One
Taleb’s fragile world, Part Two
Nassim Nicholas Taleb