Skip to comments.Mr. Taleb Goes to Washington
Posted on 03/27/2009 6:52:20 AM PDT by hripka
Nassim Taleb is an unlikely choice to play the Jimmy Stewart role in a 21st-century remake of the Depression-era classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington . But the tale of a naive do-gooder who tries to remind a corrupt political class of its obligations was re-enacted this week when Taleb attended the Wall Street Journal's Future of Finance conference in Washington, D.C.
A French- and Arabic-speaking former options trader with a taste for obscure Greek philosophers and the ambition to be seen as a literary figure, Taleb has grown famous for his book The Black Swan , which has sold 1.5 million copies around the world in 12 countries, with 19 more still to come. Although the book does not predict the current economic crisis per se, it rather loudly, elaborately, and—with a comically baroque form of storytelling—uniquely warns of the potential for a great catastrophe in the world economic system.
Now that the catastrophe is here, Taleb's anger at the economic establishment  that drove us over this cliff—and populates the Journal's conference—makes him a representative figure of ordinary people. Like most Americans, Taleb is seething with rage about the financial establishment's role in bringing the about credit crash. "Nobody saw the crisis coming," he says. "Bernanke, all these guys, I want them out. They proved incompetent, they crashed the plane."
Unlike us, the innumerately dumbstruck, Taleb is comfortable with the theory and practice that undergirds the whole system of options, derivatives, and risk management that has spun so recklessly out of control. That talent mixed with his righteous anger makes him a rare bird: an Everyman who can do the equations.
(Excerpt) Read more at thebigmoney.com ...