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Nassim Nicholas Taleb: “Never in the history of the world…”

Interesting interview with Mr. Taleb, author of the book, The Black Swan, on PBS:

BENOIT MANDELBROT: That is not well-understood. In fact, that is misunderstood for which tools have been developed which assume that changes are always very small.

If one of them comes, nothing bad happens. If several of them come together, very bad things have happened. And the theory does not take account of that, and the theory doesn’t take account of very large and sudden changes in anything.

The theory thinks that things move slowly, gradually, and can be corrected as they change, whereas, in fact, they may change extremely brutally.

NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB: Now you understand why I’m worried. I hope I’m wrong. I wake up every morning — actually, I don’t wake up every morning now. I start to wake up at night the last couple of weeks hoping that I’m wrong, begging to be wrong.

I think that we may be experiencing something that is vastly worse than we think it is.

A rather brutal and passimistic prediction which, as one might expect considering the looking glass nature of capitalist market relations, sees the approaching end of the epoch of scarcity as catastrophe.

A view we share since the only means of avoiding said catastrophe is to recognize the epoch of scarcity is ending – something which, so far, appears beyond the intellectual capacity of even our most far sighted members.

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