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  • The Revolt Against the Experts

    Posted by Jonathan on February 9th, 2017 (All posts by )

    ‘Trump makes sense to a grocery store owner’

    Economist-mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb contends that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts
    After predicting the 2008 economic crisis, the Brexit vote, the U.S. presidential election and other events correctly, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the Incerto series on global uncertainties, which includes The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, is seen as something of a maverick and an oracle. Equally, the economist-mathematician has been criticised for advocating a “dumbing down” of the economic system, and his reasoning for U.S. President Donald Trump and global populist movements. In an interview in Jaipur, Taleb explains why he thinks the world is seeing a “global riot against pseudo-experts”.

    Taleb has a typically thoughtful and contrary take on Trump’s electoral victory. Worth reading in full.

    (Via Peter Saint-Andre.)


    13 Responses to “The Revolt Against the Experts”

    1. dearieme Says:

      His point is that the supposed expertise of many purported experts is bogus. Quite right too. Economics as a discipline has existed since Smith’s wonderful book. Since then there’s been only a little progress. Errors by Smith have been corrected but the amount of sound knowledge added since Smith is pretty small. All in all, macroeconomics is feeble stuff.

      Keynes: “If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.”
      Aye, well we’re still waiting, Maynard old boy.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      We’re in a hubris bubble, where leaders of advanced countries don’t have a clue, and significant fractions of their electorates lack the experience or sense to understand that many of those leaders are incompetent. Happily, people seem to be catching on, thus (in part) Trump.

    3. pst314 Says:

      “the supposed expertise of many purported experts is bogus”

      I am reminded of a study of academic postmodernism that I read many years ago. The purveyors of pomo bullshit all cited each other in their papers, and used these numerous citations as proof that they were wise and insightful rather than the charlatans and lunatics that they were.

    4. TangoMan Says:

      I am reminded of a study of academic postmodernism that I read many years ago. The purveyors of pomo bullshit all cited each other in their papers, and used these numerous citations as proof that they were wise and insightful rather than the charlatans and lunatics that they were.

      That’s not much different than Climate Modelers sharing code with each other and then validating their climate models against other climate models.

    5. pointsnfigures Says:

      no doubt. tonight on Chicago Tonight, I heard a bunch of apparatchiks of the City of Chicago talk about public transportation. Everyone gets paid to do studies and push paper around. I heard a person’s name who I know spoken in reverent tones. He’s never held a real job. Only appointed political positions. But, he is an expert. Credentialed….

    6. Grurray Says:

      This article was linked to on Mark Zenpundit’s post the other day

      Many political onlookers described Trump’s election as a “black swan” event: unexpected but enormously consequential. The term was popularized by Nassim Taleb, the best-selling author whose 2014 book Antifragile—which has been read and circulated by Bannon and his aides—reads like a user’s guide to the Trump insurgency…

      Asked in a phone interview this week whether he’s had meetings with Bannon or his associates, Taleb said he could not comment. “Anything about private meetings would need to come from them,” he said, though he noted cryptically he’s had “coffee with friends.” He has been supportive of Trump but does not define himself as a supporter per se, though he said he would “be on the first train” to Washington were he invited to the White House.

      Very, very reassuring. This really is a sea change in Washington.

    7. Mike K Says:

      It is also a very dangerous time because there are billion and maybe trillions invested in the current Deep State.

    8. Grurray Says:

      ” tonight on Chicago Tonight, I heard a bunch of apparatchiks…”

      Channel 11’s days of relevancy are long in the past. I stopped watching Chicago Tonight when they got rid of Bob Sirott. To me he’s one of the last few links in the local media to the Chicago that I knew growing up- the Second City, city of big shoulders, the Grabowskis, etc.

      Now I don’t know what Chicago stands for anymore except a place spinning out of control. I have a couple friends who are reporters that I check up on Facebook now and again in case anything blows up, but other than that I avoid the local news. Like Jefferson, I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus & Thucydides, for Newton & Euclid; & I find myself much the happier.

    9. David Foster Says:

      Why is it a ‘riot’? If I have someone doing, say, inventory planning, and he consistently gets it wrong, and I fire him, is that a ‘riot’?

    10. Thomas Hazlewood Says:

      Our Elites are looters, colluding with each other to exact lucre from the public body for a demonstrably meager understanding of how things work.

      When faced with a serious opposition, they band together to produce ‘evidence’ of which they are all ‘decided’.

      Global warming, vaccinations scares, DDT ban, Bush ‘failure’ on Hurricane Katrina, ‘fake news’, etc, all these are examples of the conclusions of the ‘experts’, forced upon the populace by the joint effort of those best placed to profit from a distorted world view.

    11. Mrs. Davis Says:

      No where is the revolt against experts more apparent than Malvern PA, where Vanguard announced that in 2016 it had more cash inflows than all other funds combined People are putting their money where their mind is. Now one wonders how stocks will be priced when everyone indexes. Will we have only a handful of market makers? How will they determine price? Is this really centralization of power nowhere?

    12. dearieme Says:

      An old definition of riot from WKPD.

      The Riot Act (1714) (1 Geo.1 St.2 c.5) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain that authorized local authorities to declare any group of twelve or more people to be unlawfully assembled, and thus have to disperse or face punitive action. The act, whose long title was “An Act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters”, came into force on 1 August 1715. …

      The act created a mechanism for certain local officials to make a proclamation ordering the dispersal of any group of more than twelve people who were “unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled together”. If the group failed to disperse within one hour, then anyone remaining gathered was guilty of a felony without benefit of clergy, punishable by death.

    13. PenGun Says:

      “Global warming, vaccinations scares, DDT ban, Bush ‘failure’ on Hurricane Katrina, ‘fake news’, etc, all these are examples of the conclusions of the ‘experts’, forced upon the populace by the joint effort of those best placed to profit from a distorted world view.”

      Global warming is obviously real, all there is to fight about is how much humans have to do with it.

      There are real problems with snowflakes and vaccinations. To work well they need to be universal.

      DDT, boy we are reaching here. It is true that is was not as simple as many thought as it did mitigate many problems.

      Hurricane Katrina was a disaster that was handled very badly, by pretty well all levels of government.

      The news you are fed is the product of your corporate overlords, they own the outlets, and it is designed to control you. It’s not so much fake as dedicated to their ends. Their experts are just window dressing, and now, everyone has their experts, and we all have pretty windows.

      Uh huh it’s gonna be a long rocky road outa here.

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