Nassim Taleb: ‘The Black Swan’ author in praise of the risk-takers – The Independent 06-25-13

Salient to Investors:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb says:

The UK and the US have a fantastic history in risk-taking, in trial and error, without shame in failing and starting again.

We must honor the “ruined” risk-takers with as much respect as we do soldiers – there is no such thing as a failed soldier or failed entrepreneur.

If you take risks and face your fate with dignity, there is nothing you can do that makes you small; if you don’t take risks, there is nothing you can do that makes you grand, nothing.

Intervention in Syria makes no sense – the enemy of a devil is not necessarily a saint; in fact, rarely a saint.

Most of us live in direct contradiction to how the world works; we should love variability and embrace risk and resist forecasting.

Something that is antifragile actually grows because it is stressed and then adjusts itself. Ironically our greatest asset – the built-in antifragility of certain risk-taking systems – is the one we distrust the most.

Inequalities of wealth lead to a dispersion in wealth for all.

Small is powerful. We should be breaking up the big bureaucratic corporations; use anti-trust laws as Roosevelt did in the US. It is much easier to BS at the macro-level than it is to BS at the micro-level.

No public servant or politician should profit more from private business than they earned before. It’s outrageous how Robert Rubin and Tony Blair have profited.

Bankers have lost more than they ever made in their history while they are paid billions in compensation and they are still gaming the system. Banks should be treated as utilities and forbidden from taking lethal risks that destroy the livelihoods of others. Those that take risks, like hedge funds, should be able to do as they want.

Stock markets have become a vicious form of asymmetric skin in the game. Corporate managers have incentives without disincentives. Over the last decade, the US stock market has cost retirees $3 trillion in losses, while corporate executives of listed companies are richer by around $400bn.

Top-down knowledge is an illusion. Education without erudition is nothing. Too much emphasis is placed on formal education.

Read the full article at  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/nassim-taleb-the-black-swan-author-in-praise-of-the-risktakers-8672186.html#

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