Nassim Taleb is the best-selling author of Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. So called 'Black Swan Events' are climactic, random and hard-to-predict events that have been entirely unexpected, and often hitherto perceived to be impossible.
At this breakfast event chaired by Danny Finkelstein, Comment Editor of the Times, Nassim Taleb explains the relevance of his ideas to the economic crisis, and argue for measures to create a more Black Swan-robust society. David Cameron responds and takes part in a discussion with the audience.
Prime Minister David Cameron
David Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament.
Cameron studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, gaining a first class honours degree. He then joined the Conservative Research Department and became Special Adviser to Norman Lamont, and then to Michael Howard. He was Director of Corporate Affairs at Carlton Communications for seven years.
A first candidacy for Parliament at Stafford in 1997 ended in defeat, but Cameron was elected in 2001 as the Member of Parliament for the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney. He was promoted to the Opposition front bench two years later, and rose rapidly to become head of policy coordination during the 2005 general election campaign. With a public image of a young, moderate candidate who would appeal to young voters, he won the Conservative leadership election in 2005.
In the 2010 general election, the Conservatives gained a plurality of seats in a hung parliament and Cameron was appointed Prime Minister on 11 May 2010, at the head of a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. At the age of 43, Cameron became the youngest British Prime Minister since the Earl of Liverpool 198 years earlier. The Cameron Ministry is the first coalition government in the United Kingdom since the Second World War.
Daniel Finkelstein is a weekly columnist and Chief Leader Writer of The Times. His blog, Comment Central, is a personal round up of the best political opinion on the web.
Before joining the paper in 2001, he was adviser to both Prime Minister John Major and Conservative leader William Hague.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is an essayist, belletrist, and researcher.
Taleb is currently a researcher at London Business School. He the Dean’s Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Fellow in Mathematics in Finance, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University (since 1999), and research fellow, Wharton School Financial Institutions Center, and Chairman, Empirica LLC.
Taleb held senior trading positions with trading houses in New York and London and operated as a floor trader before founding Empirica LLC. His degrees include an MBA from the Wharton School and a Ph.D. from the University of Paris. He is the author of Dynamic Hedging, Fooled by Randomness, and The Black Swan.
Epistemologist and scholar Nassim Nicholas Taleb says that solutions to the current financial crisis are simple. "Look at mother nature. Mother nature does not like leverage and mother nature does not like 'too big to fail.'"
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, addresses the financial missteps of the Obama administration. "The problem we have in America is that nobody has addressed the fundamental error," says Taleb.
He maybe right (and he's a smart guy with more money on a bank account than you will ever earn) but what is the solution? More transparency? I don't want to know what they're doing in in DC, Paris, London, Frankfurt and Beijing but it affects me one day for sure (hyperinflation will wipe out my carefully constructed savings over the last 15 years). More democracy? That will only increase the lobbying industry pursuing focused interests. Maybe what we need is more checks and balances in the system with trustworthy, smart people having a greater say in how we make decisions as a society, well shielded off from the flavour of the day currents. Let markets pursue their perfection in a ring- fenced way and create a society where choices made by people have consequences for those same people.
Finally somebody with a half of brain.
The "basis point" predicament; these shifts are a real problem - there is too much bias in human behaviour. Humans have become poor-thinking and thus have become parasite-like.
Popper once said, "history repeats itself but never in the same way", however, the USs' situation resembles a certain country of the 1930s.