Rod Dreher

‘Black Swan’ author Nassim Nicholas Taleb tells CNBC that the big hangover from debt binging is upon us. Excerpt:

The economic situation today is drastically worse than a couple years ago, and the euro is doomed as a concept, Nassim Taleb, professor and author of the bestselling book “The Black Swan,” told CNBC on Thursday.
“We had less debt cumulatively (two years ago), and more people employed. Today, we have more risk in the system, and a smaller tax base,” Taleb said.
“Banks balance sheets are just as bad as they were” two years ago when the crisis began and “the quality of the risks hasn’t improved,” he added.
The root of the crisis over the past couple of years wasn’t recession, but debt, which has spread “like a cancer,” according to Taleb, who is now relieved that public attention has shifted to debt, instead of growth.
The world needs to prepare itself for austerity, he warned. “We need to slash debt. Unfortunately, that’s the only solution,” Taleb said.

This part of the interview also stood out:

The “Black Swan” metaphor is used to describe those rare, unexpected but consequential events that people cannot predict because they view the world through a sort of tunnel vision – as something structured, ordinary, and comprehensible.
“I want to live in a society that is robust to adverse events. We don’t live in that world,” Taleb said.

No, we don’t — and as I pointed out yesterday, Sharon Astyk understands part of the reason why.

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