Isn’t A “Black Swan Proof” World Impossible?
The econoblogosphere is buzzing about Taleb’s list on ways to “Black Swan Proof” the world. While this is a great list for a new paradigm for financial markets, nobody seems to mention that it goes completely against everything Taleb stands (or stood for) philosophically. The idea behind the black swan was that it was something so highly improbable that it could not be prevented. Taleb went on to say that trying to prevent black swans would be ineffective and even create more of them.
While I found the piece to be excellent, along w/ Umair Haque’s “manifesto” last week, I can’t help but notice the contradiction here. Taleb has built his name on the idea of the “black swan” and now I wonder if he “timed” the release of this philosophy to coincide with the financial meltdown, which I guess he has deemed a “black swan” event. If that were to be true, wouldn’t that make him a prognosticator himself and one of those “experts” he treats with so much contempt in his own work. The only person who remotely picked up on this was Felix Salmon who calls it “impossible”.
While I may be splitting hairs here, I found Taleb quite refreshing and find this obvious contradiction somewhat inauthentic. Any thoughts?