Saturday, October 11, 2008
With fabulous incompetence, Newsnight failed to understand the mind of the most important thinker on the current crisis, my pal Nassim Nicolas Taleb. He was in the studio, to his left a female economist and, on the big screen, 'an economist in a tie' (Nassim's words) in Washington. The economists were so implausible, so full of themselves and so smarmy that I feared for my lunch on Monday. Nassim was quivering with anger and, at one point, clutching his chest. He's my lunch. John Gray will be there to - it's the crunch lunch. Anyway, the implausible economists poured empty words over everything while angry Nas tried to explain that it was all meaningless because the most important first step was to ditch all the nonsensical models of risk dreamed up by the quack econs and statisticians employed by banks. This is the point. Salvation - and, come to that, happiness - lies not in bailouts but in a humble acceptance of how little we know and how vain are our self-important attempts to pretend otherwise. This was Nassim's message. It went unheard. On the floor of the bourse the brokers roared on like beasts.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:09 am