“We have a society where economists can be as incompetent as they want”

—Nassim Taleb

“…there are some risks that you don’t want to take. Only people who went to the University of Chicago started taking these risks. normal people don’t make these mistakes unless they have a formula.”

—Nassim Taleb

“We have a civilization that is built up by experts, and this crisis is not so bad.”

—Robert Shiller

“We have been fighting the illusion of control and false experts since the dawn of civilization….Saying that we don’t have experts that are perfect means that we can have economists that are not perfect is a totally bogus argument.”

—Nassim Taleb

“It’s funny that I end up debating because you are a kindred spirit, but the point of this conference is the next one hundred days. We’re going to be giving an expert proposal to improve the situation. Are you seem to be saying that we should just give up and call the whole thing off?”

—Robert Shiller

“No…No. I have a clear plan to immunize society from the mistakes of experts. It’s very simple. it’s so logical to a cab driver.”

—Nassim Taleb

“Financial engineers are trying to figure out how to make a financial system that is less vulnerable to collapse…We’re going to have to use experts to design these systems.”

—Robert Shiller

“Cicero didn’t want governments to be in debt. Debt creates instability…wars…”

—Nassim Taleb

“It’s actually going to take the next five or ten years.”

—Robert Shiller

“It’s too obvious. they can’t see it because they have PhD’s in economics…Convert debt to equity.”

—Nassim Taleb

“Our capitalist system is like a sports game. We invent rules that we operate by. And we have referees who enforce them….players want the regulators…We have over the centuries developed a regulatory system that many people scoff at but i think it makes our system work well…this is just another crisis, another opportunity to improve it….”

—Robert Shiller

 

::Extracts from the New Yorker’s session on the financial crisis::

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