Top Billing! Zero Hedge –Taleb On “Skin In The Game” And His Disdain For Public Intellectuals
Nassim Taleb sits down for a quite extensive interview based around his new book Anti-Fragile. Whether the Black Swan best-seller is philosopher or trader is up to you but the discussion is worth the time as Taleb wonders rigorously from the basic tenets of capitalism – “being more about disincentives that incentives” as failure (he believes) is critical to its success (and is clearly not allowed in our current environment) – to his intellectual influences (and total disdain for the likes of Krugman, Stiglitz, and Friedman – who all espouse grandiose and verbose work with no accountability whatsoever). His fears of large centralized states (such as the US is becoming and Europe is become) being prone to fail along with his libertarianism make for good viewing. However, his fundamental premise that TBTF banks should be nationalized and the critical importance of ‘skin in the game’ for a functioning financial system are all so crucial for the current ‘do no harm’ regime in which we live. Grab a beer (or glass of wine, it is Taleb) and watch…
Via Redmond Weissenberger of the Ludwig von Mises Institute Of Canada,
….My book is in large part intended to be a corrective to the driving imperative of our foreign policy.
No matter what portion of the ideological spectrum Americans come at world problems from, their views are shaped in a way by the idea of the “end of history.” We think that political development has a single endpoint, that being liberal democracy.
I’m not arguing that there’s a better endpoint.
Instead, I’m arguing that America cannot get the world to that endpoint in the near term. America needs to be more humble in its foreign policies, more realistic than its current expectation of instant modernization without any instability, and more cognizant of the significant challenges it faces in getting its own house in order.
In a phrase, I argue that America should focus more on being an exemplar than a crusader.
First, the world is undergoing a massive wave of change, bringing rapid development and modernization to more people than ever before. I show that this change is intensely destabilizing. It took the West centuries to progress from the corrupt rule of warlords to liberal democracy.
There is no reason to believe that America can remake the world—or even a corner of it—in its image in the course of a few years. We are going to face a period of intensifying instability in the developing world and we need to understand that some things just cannot be neatly managed, much less controlled. We can’t bring on the end of history by using war to spread democracy and the welfare state (used in the academic, not pejorative sense).
Longtime blogfriend Dr. Tdaxp has been on an epistemological tear of late.
Dr. MacKenzie’s post celebrates a change in policy that is going to be extremely difficult to implement once the military moves beyond the very few female soldiers and Marines who can meet minimum PT standards for combat specialties and are highly motivated to join combat arms. Aside from the issue of qualifying standards (two or one or one new “de-gendered”) the women admitted to combat will still have to shoulder a pack and gear that now can tip the scales at an astronomical 120 lbs and then march and fight under that weight. This is three times the weight of the WWII GI’s kit and more than twice the weight of medieval plate armor. We are going to have to either find very tall and athletic women or expect a very high rate of knee, hip and back injuries during sustained campaigns removing female soldiers from their units. There is also the issue of the difference between sporadic combat seen in COIN with shorter stints “outside the wire” where women have made valorous contributions and the day to day, week to week, month to month grind of total war conventional battles like D-Day, Okinawa, the Bulge or Chosin which have a much different actuarial logic than COIN. Any conflict of that order will require a mass army based on conscription and not a small, selective, professional AVF and drafting millions of young women into combat is something to be viewed with skepticism
The Glittering Eye – When You’re Rich They Think You Really Know
Dave takes a very different tack on the Bill Gates op-ed and the utility of measurement than Dr. Tdaxp
Thomas P.M. Barnett –China’s future with a only-child society
China embarked on the greatest demographic social engineering experiment in history. The results are now with us.