Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Nassim Taleb — There's A Global Riot Against Psuedo-Experts." "This Is Not About Fascism."

Economist-mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb contends that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts.
Zero Hedge
"There's A Global Riot Against Psuedo-Experts" Nassim Taleb Exclaims "This Is Not About Fascism"
Submitted by Suhasini Haidar via TheHindu.com

See also

US Economic Confidence Surges To Highest Level Ever Recorded By Gallup

17 comments:

Ryan Harris said...


I hope he is right about this:
"Many smaller units of governance, and a collection of super islands with some separation, quick decision-making, and visible implementation. Lots of Switzerlands, that’s what we need. What we need is not leaders, we don’t need them. We just need someone at the top who doesn’t mess the system up."

Calexit, Texit, Orexit, Frexit, Brexit, Italexit, Grexit... so much work remains to be done.

Here in the US if we can just get one or two states to vote their way out, the whole thing will come apart region by region and the government in Washington is finished within decades.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

There is NO such thing as an economic expert. For details see

Economists and the destructive power of stupidity
http://axecorg.blogspot.de/2017/02/economists-and-destructive-power-of.html

Cross-references Incompetence
http://axecorg.blogspot.de/2015/07/incompetence-cross-references.html

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

Michael Norman said...

And Taleb's one of them. Remember this beauty? "Everyone on the planet should short Treasuries." (We're out of money. "Creditors" won't lend to us.)

Matthew Franko said...

I'd like to think that ultimately this all comes down to a failure of technocracy ... but this is because we have promoted via Title 7/9, cronyism, nepotism, very unqualified people into technical positions...

So this all can be fixed if we get some qualified technocrats into the positions... which is hopeful... but dont see it happening any time soon either....

Matthew Franko said...

Also I would add that to the people doing the rioting, it IS about 'fascism!'...

But you cant blame these people from being all pissed off with the way things have been run by the unqualified....

Kristjan said...

Mike got it first, I just wanted to say that while I agree with Taleb this time, he was the one who said: shorting US Treasuries was no brainer and everyone on the planet should do It.

Ignacio said...

Taleb is part of the problem.

Ignacio said...

He goes back to GS thinking in this same post. He tries to straitghjacket reality to get his desired chaotic results so he can say «i was right».

Tom Hickey said...

So this all can be fixed if we get some qualified technocrats into the positions... which is hopeful... but dont see it happening any time soon either....

The problem is that the people that get selected are people that run for office and they appoint people like themselves.

Won't change much unless people that are actually qualified start entering politics.

Tom Hickey said...

Also I would add that to the people doing the rioting, it IS about 'fascism!'...

Been there and seen this in the Sixties and Seventies at protest rallies.

There are two predominant causal factors in violence like this, black bloc anarchists and agents provocateurs.

The black bloc tries to maker bid dissent wider scale than it actually is, and agents provocateurs are used to discredit dissent.

Occasionally, the tactic works to speed the scale of violence as others join in that would not have if not provoked.

These are tactics with a long historical record

The mainstream media almost never picks up on it, so it is effective for creating propaganda.

lastgreek said...

Taleb tweets some times, and no matter what the subject, things that are a bit over the top. Like that time, for example, when he tweeted that New Testament Greek is "bad" Greek. Sorry, but for someone to say such a stupid thing, and I'll use Taleb's words here, is a prime example of "an intellectual yet idiot."

That is Taleb on occasion. Other times he nails it. No one is perfect, right?

Tom Hickey said...

"Bad" is a relative term here. The NT is written in Koine Greek, which is a kind of "bastard Greek" in comparison with Classical Attic Greek, since Koine, meaning common as in Latin vulgar), was a mixture of Attic, Ionic and other Greek dialects. It is Hellenistic Greek rather than Hellenic. But some writing in Koine was plain and some literary. It's use was not homogenous.

The first scholars who studied Koine, both in Alexandrian and contemporary times, were classicists whose prototype had been the literary Attic Greek of the Classical period and frowned upon any other variety of Ancient Greek. Koine Greek was therefore considered a decayed form of Greek which was not worthy of attention.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koine_Greek

This was the view when I was taking Greek over 50 years ago, but I don't know if that is still the case.

But NT Greek is pretty simple to read for students in comparison with Classical Greek literature since it was addressed at less educated people and the constructions were simple by comparison.

Taleb may have been thinking along those lines, which would be typical for him. But I don't see how that makes NT Greek "bad" when it follows the grammatical rules. It's just not elegant and was not meant to be to serve the purpose for which it was composed.

lastgreek said...

"Bad" is a relative term here. The NT is written in Koine Greek, which is a kind of "bastard Greek" in comparison with Classical Attic Greek, since Koine, meaning common as in Latin vulgar), was a mixture of Attic, Ionic and other Greek dialects.

Tom, with this line of thinking -- is it fair to say then that Attic Greek is a kind of "bastard Greek" in comparison to the Greek that came before it? Attic Greek had 5 cases for its nouns, the Greek before it had 7. What happened? Did the Greeks decide to dumb it down a bit?

Give me a sec. while I go to my Greek library and get this Ancient Greek grammar book from the shelf; it was written by an Englishman in the late 1800's ... Here it is: A Primer of Greek Grammar. Here's an excerpt:

An offshoot of the Ionic was the ATTIC -- the ordinary language of Athenian writers ... This was the dialect of literary Greece after 400 B.C. and in consequence of Alexander's conquests ... became, in a debased form the Greek of the East... and of the New Testament.

No, it's not debased -- it's just the latest development of the language. And what a dialect it was to produce one of the greatest literary texts ever written: the Bible. And not just the Bible. The forerunner to the modern novel in western literature is Heliodorus's Aethiopica (An Ethiopian love story; written in later koine. The French playwright Jean Racine is said to have memorized it; Cervantes loved it too ;)

It is Hellenistic Greek rather than Hellenic. But some writing in Koine was plain and some literary. It's use was not homogenous.

Tom, the same, "plain/literary," can be said of modern Greek today, or for any other language for that matter.

Anyway, as you said, Tom, NT Greek was written in the common (koine) language spoken at the time for the obvious of reasons: the Church Fathers wanted to reach as many people as possible. Imagine if they had used, say, the dialect that Thucydides used to write the PW: Christianity today would have been a footnote in history. Seriously, I wonder if contemporaries of Thucydides ever mocked him for writing such an important history in such a difficult dialect -- I mean, it was basically the Spartan dialect ... and the Spartans weren't exactly voracious readers, were they? ;)

This was the view when I was taking Greek over 50 years ago, but I don't know if that is still the case.

They did not know any better. Back in the day when I took Greek,30 years ago, the popular hypothesis was that wave after wave of Greek speakers from northern Europe settled in present day Greece and Asia Minor, and each brought their respective dialect with them. Today, the archaeological linguistic evidence disputes that. What does it say? That Greek is a mixture of Indo-European and the language of the original inhabitants.

But NT Greek is pretty simple to read for students in comparison with Classical Greek literature since it was addressed at less educated people and the constructions were simple by comparison.

Have you ever read Homeric Greek? (Of course it was never a spoken form of Greek, just a literary dialect and mostly of the Ionic variety.) Easy peasy as far as learning Greek goes, and why some teachers of Greek recommended that students start there. Yup, it's pretty simple and, hell, it doesn't even have a definite article to boot. Debased? ;)

Taleb may have been thinking along those lines, which would be typical for him. But I don't see how that makes NT Greek "bad" when it follows the grammatical rules. It's just not elegant and was not meant to be to serve the purpose for which it was composed.

Tom, let me just say that I respect Taleb and in no way was I making fun of him. I really appreciated it when recently in one of his tweets he brought attention to the STILL Turkish occupation of Cyprus. He's not Greek, he didn't have to bother, but he did and I respect that a lot. It's just that sometimes, like with how a

lastgreek said...

Oops, it appears my last sentence was cut off. Unfortunately with our golden doodle here nagging me to take him out for a walk, I've lost my train of thought :(

Tom Hickey said...

Jus' sayin' that Taleb may have been under the same influence I was exposed to back when. The "best" Greek was Classical Greek in which the Western classics were written.

It's similar in Sanskrit, with Vedic Sanskrit the oldest, Classical Sanskrit, and than the vernaculars that arose later.

Classical Sanskrit is what is thought as the "best" Sanskrit.

But that is sort of like saying that Shakespeare's English is the "best" English because he is considered the premier writer in English.

lastgreek said...

I think the true measure of a language's merit is what it is capable of expressing. Greek in all its forms thru its long history ... well, you know what I mean ;)

Tom, I think you'll enjoy this language/linguistic blog: wwww.languagehat.com. Give it a visit when you have the time :)

Tom Hickey said...

Thanks. I'll follow the feed.