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CHARLIE ROSE: Nassim Taleb is here.
Ниже есть продолжение.
He is a professor,
philosopher, and author. His 2007 book "The Black Swan" predicted that
fragility in financial markets could spark an global economic crises. It
has sold nearly three million copies worldwide. It was described by the
"Times of London" as one of the 12 most influential books since World War
His latest is called "The Bed of Procrustes, Philosophical and
Practical Aphorisms." I am pleased to have Nassim Taleb back at this
NASSIM TALEB: Thank you. This is the third time.
CHARLIE ROSE: "Black Swan" was a huge success, lots of accolades came to
you. You then went out and promoted the book and retreated.
NASSIM TALEB: Sort of retreated and started writing scientific papers on
the topic. And then I got, and then I wrote postscript and added it to
"The Black Swan" on fragility, because people didn’t understand "The Black
Swan." They thought that I was inviting them to predict these rare events
when in fact I was proposing something drastically different, tried to be
robust to them, identify fragility, and try to be robust to them.
So I wrote the postscript, which is exactly opposite of what people were
thinking at the time as a solution to the black swan and then retreated
back and started taking long walks, slow walks slowly for a long time and
CHARLIE ROSE: And you wrote how many, 500 or so?
NASSIM TALEB: I wrote 500. We had to cut down 40 only to please the
CHARLIE ROSE: Of all the aphorisms, which is your favorite?
NASSIM TALEB: Depends. I randomly opened the page and I’ll explain why.
This one is probably the one, it’s not my favorite, the one that represents
my ideas the most, "A prophet is not someone with special vision, just
blind to what most of what others see," so someone that doesn’t see others.
I have this idea of what I call subtractive prophecy. To predict the
future, you don’t look to the future and add to it to predict. You need to
remove from the future what doesn’t belong there because of the fragility.
The next prediction continues to different operations.
CHARLIE ROSE: Central to your argument and specifically it comes all with
the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Bernanke, is that the points of
reference are wrong in terms of taking action for the future.
NASSIM TALEB: Ben Bernanke is completely fooled by the property of the
system. He didn’t understand the risks of the system. He thought it was a
great moderation when in fact we were sitting on dynamite and he thought it
was a great moderation.
And of course crisis happened and took place and he still couldn’t figure
out why the crises took place nor did he figure out what solution we should
be having to eliminate these risks to make the world more predictable.
My idea is we lived in a world that has so much in complexity, OK, that we
need to have more reserves in a way against that unpredictability. And I
refer to Mother Nature as the best risk manager. Mother Nature took me and
you don’t have to predict what environment will make you lose one of them.
You have to predict this virus, bacteria or anything else. You have a
buffer. It’s called redundancy.
Now the exact opposite of redundancy is that when instead of having two
kidneys you go borrow one. So Bernanke doesn’t understand that deficits
fragilize (ph) the system further. It’s sort of like giving a cancer
patient a double dose of pain medication.
CHARLIE ROSE: What doesn’t he understand about deficits, what a majority
of the country doesn’t understand about deficits?
NASSIM TALEB: The problem of the black swan problem comes from high dose
of unpredictability that people do not take into account. It makes the
world less and less forecast-able. If the world is not easy to forecast,
what do you do? You build reserves. You try to not have to rely on
If you have that that system you need to be very good at forecasting. For
instance now we talking about the budget. The Office of Management Budget
and these people didn’t get anything right. Look at the forecast made in
2004, 05, and 06. These people are issuing employment forecast for next
ten years based on that they’re going to borrow. The smallest mistake in
the forecasting can turn, you know, that debt thing into something like the
So my point is that an environment that is robust and needs to have low
level of debt and a lot of redundancy, you see.
CHARLIE ROSE: So you suggest we transfer the debt into equity?
NASSIM TALEB: The private debt should be transferred into equity, and we
will have to go through some belt tightening. What all the economists
didn’t understand when the crises happened that it was not a problem of
recession, it was a problem of risk, the height of the risk in the system.
It took them two years.
CHARLIE ROSE: They understood we were overleveraged as a society because
the risk ratio was too high.
NASSIM TALEB: It took them years to understand the remedy. The remedy is
to cut the cancer. Now we have two years of cancer.
CHARLIE ROSE: Cut the cancer means what?
NASSIM TALEB: At the time to move the debt by turning it into equity and
take the pain immediately. Now we have deficits, you see. That’s that.
Then we have to borrow.
CHARLIE ROSE: So they should have done what?
NASSIM TALEB: The first thing, what Obama did, Obama took power, he
appointed people, three people, three persons at a time, Summers, people
who were part of the system that caused all the risks and didn’t see the
risks. And that’s the wrong message.
CHARLIE ROSE: There were three people responsible even for the Bush
administration, one who is the secretary of treasury, Hank Paulson, the
chairman of the Fed Ben Bernanke, and then the New York Fed chairman Tim
Geithner. Bernanke stays and Geithner becomes the Secretary of the
Treasury, and in the White House there is Larry Summers and others.
NASSIM TALEB: What I meant is these people are part of the establishment
that built up this risk, so someone who can’t understand the errors
forecast. What I meant at the time we should have done what David Cameron
in U.K. understood immediately, is immediately try to cut the cancer
CHARLIE ROSE: David Cameron, tell us what David Cameron has done to put
into his budget along with George Osborne, a significant budget of
NASSIM TALEB: He realized that the problem is not recession. The problem
is worse. It’s a problem of risk which leads eventually to much worse
recession later, you see. The problem of all these people who are in favor
of spending we don’t have is that they don’t realize that you are
fragilizing the system further with these packages of stimulus.
If you take an individual, if you are in debt, OK, what do you do? You’re
in debt, you borrow more? No. You have a problem. Now what we’ve done --
CHARLIE ROSE: If you were in debt you have to spend less some would argue.
NASSIM TALEB: You spend less. So you try to spend less and try to manage
your finances. The Chinese are not going to lend you much more.
CHARLIE ROSE: We’ll come back to that.
NASSIM TALEB: So the problem, the Obama administration started
transforming, one adult fool lent to another fool. Now who is paying the
price? Who is taking the risk of the policy, the person who did the right
thing, mainly the one who saves. And in a lot of respect they did exactly
the wrong thing.
CHARLIE ROSE: It was a saving society. America was a consumer society so
when the crises came or even before China was supporting, China in hits
society with a lot of money was able to take U.S. debt because we were a
NASSIM TALEB: Within the U.S. you have people who borrowed, OK. The
person who did the wrong thing, namely take a mortgage when they should not
have borrowed that much money, OK. It’s being bailed out when the person
who saved money is now on the threat of hyperinflation to bail the other
person out with a little bit of inflation.
To me, there is a moral problem. There are two moral problems. Number
one, the innocent is paying for the mistake. The innocent the person who
did the right thing is paying for mistakes of those who did the wrong
thing. And the second one we by borrowing, by running this now trillion
plus deficit, we are transferring the risk to future generations.
It may work out but they should not be the ones to bear, that’s the Romans
held in their morality is that a child shall not be responsible for the
sins of his father.
CHARLIE ROSE: So do you accept the principles of the deficit reduction
commission, a way to begin to deal with the deficit proposed by them?
NASSIM TALEB: I have not followed. I don’t follow. Politics is too
depressing for me, except for the U.K. because of my closeness to the
Cameron administration. I talked with the policy people there. I like
them and they understand my ideas, they understood my ideas of fragility
before anybody else.
And they like, they liked it to promote a robust society rather than from
the wealthy society. In other words they like to, if you get on a plane,
you refer speed to safety and some prefer safe two to speed. So we think
along the same lines.
Over here, I don’t quite understand the Republicans. They like small
governments but big corporations. And I don’t understand the Democrats
they’re lying big government and don’t like the corporations. I don’t
quite understand that in Washington, so I’m completely shut off from what’s
going on here except I’m paying taxes and I did the right thing and I have
savings and I don’t want my savings to evaporate because of mistakes made
by someone who borrowed when he shouldn’t have borrowed. So these people
who are penalized and haven’t been penalized. And the banks are still
CHARLIE ROSE: You are reflecting a lot of the sentiment of German voters
who object to the bailout of Greece. We were saving, we were living within
our means, and the Greek government was living way beyond its means and
now, when push came to shove, we’re going called on to rescue them.
NASSIM TALEB: Well, the situation is a lot worse here than was Greece, OK.
People keep talking about Europe as something shaky, and I think that
Europe overall they had less debt to GDP overall as a competent or as a
currency unit in the United States. They are more robust. They understood
the problem before we did, you see. We, Greece has been forced to cut
those risks so they don’t spend money they don’t have.
CHARLIE ROSE: That’s the condition of the loin.
NASSIM TALEB: Because they have German and the IMF whereas Obama doesn’t
have anyone. We have $$$1 trillion to worry about, more than a $$$1 trillion.
CHARLIE ROSE: What would you cut?
NASSIM TALEB: It’s not going to be popular but you have to cut everywhere.
CHARLIE ROSE: You are also highly critical of finance.
NASSIM TALEB: Yes. Because I think if you lower that, we bailed out the
banks in 1982. We started the whole process and it got bigger and bigger,
seemingly more stable. But in fact they are hiding risks in what I call
the tails, under the rug like dynamite in your basement.
And they kept getting bigger and bigger, more and more fragile, and
government free options of support. And if you had less debt in the
system, bankers could be as incompetent as they want and it won’t affect us
Our level to that of GDP is about five times approximately, five times what
it was in the 70’s and early 80’s. Back there bankers can be as
incompetence. People blame the crises on malfeasance. Business is the
story of dishonesty, people looking for their own interest and moral
hazards everywhere. I would like to live in a society in which, you know,
the kind of work behavior doesn’t affect our citizens. That’s very simple.
CHARLIE ROSE: And you blame it on too much risk and too much leverage and
too much debt?
NASSIM TALEB: I blame it on too many economic theories and decision-
making. I would like something more organic. For example, take the Fed.
You see the mistake made by the Fed. They had their theories, they wanted
us to stabilize the business cycle and the labor is the same. They said no
more boom and bust.
It’s like Egypt. They prop up the dictator, artificial constraint. They
constrain the volatility. Meanwhile the risks are hiding in the system,
OK. And of course we’re going to have the explosion.
So I want a society that has organic volatility like nature where people
fail early, not late. So I want more national system. I would like
governments not to fragilize large corporations but letting them get very
big at the expense of the small guy and bail them out, OK, on the occasion.
CHARLIE ROSE: You also believe that globalization created interlocking
NASSIM TALEB: I’m not against globalization, but I was extremely outraged
after I read the book by Thomas Friedman called "The Earth is Flat."
[см. Мои впечатления о книге "Мир - плоский" Томаса Л. Фридмана] He
doesn’t understand that this kind of globalization was predictability.
You see, I’m not against it provided the side effect. The side effect of
that kind of environment is that you’re going to have more volatile effect,
more overspecialization, more fragility, more people going bust, more
volatile food prices. People don’t have the same inventories because it’s
overspecialization and more leverage. So you have an environment that is
not as resilient as what we had before and has no place to hide.
CHARLIE ROSE: But my impression of Tom Friedman’s pieces is simply the
world was flat, he argued that technology, you know, had essentially
eliminated some of the differences between people and states, and so
therefore with access to technology you could compete in a different way.
NASSIM TALEB: Yes, but because of technology, people start
overspecialization. And because of technology, we had as a side effect
lower predictability. Because of technology, now we can use all your money
from Iceland immediately, it’s not having these bursts of things. And it’s
Now, I’m not against globalization, I’m not against the web. I’m against
thinking that it’s a tendency without looking at side effects. And the
side effects can be monstrous.
CHARLIE ROSE: You also speak of the need to live, the need to live in a
world beyond our capability to comprehend.
NASSIM TALEB: We need to learn to live in something we don’t quite
understand. And then give you my whole method and explain everything on
the whole show in 2009, a gentleman from the IMF stood up and showed his
projection, 2010, 11, 12, and 13. I got enraged. I stood up and asked
them before he sat down to show the crowd his projections for 2007, 2008
I told the crowd it is very simple. It can be summarized as follows. I
wanted him to be as wrong as he wants without affecting the group, you see.
So I wrote backwards from that standpoint, that principle to what society
should be living in. It’s a society in which extra problems don’t hurt us
so much. And the society has unique characteristics.
CHARLIE ROSE: It is always good to have Nassim Taleb here. This new book
is called "The Bed of Procrustes."