Sunday, April 19, 2015

My early calls for the sort of antifragility expressed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his “Antifragile” of 2012.

"A mixture of thousand solutions, many of them inadequate, may lead to a flexible world that can bend with the storms. A world obsessed with Best Practices may calcify its structure and break with any small wind." 

And in my book "Voice and Noise" of 2006 I said the following:

"Too well tuned?:  Martial arts legend Bruce Lee, whom many people regarded as immortal, died at the age of only 32 of a cerebral edema, or brain swelling, after taking some sort of aspirin. I have not the faintest idea whether that pill actually had anything to do with his death but I have frequently used (or misused) this sad death as an example of how an organism could be in such a highly tuned and perfect condition that it could not resist a small external shock. 

And I used this metaphor to explain why companies nowadays, pressured by the stock market’s expectations for the next quarterly results; the latest theories in corporate finance as to how squeeze out the last drop in results; and, perhaps, even some bit of creative accounting, might be so well-tuned (no little reserve fat left) that they would not be able to withstand any minor recession.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's "Antifragile"

And here other two of my early warnings on fragility

In 1999 in a Op-Ed in I wrote: “The possible Big Bang that scares me the most is the one that could happen the day those genius bank regulators in Basel, playing Gods, manage to introduce a systemic error in the financial system, which will cause the collapse of our banks”

In January 2003 in FT I wrote: “Everyone knows that, sooner or later, the ratings issued by the credit agencies are just a new breed of systemic error to be propagated at modern speeds”

And, Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb, please stop referring to the last financial crisis as a “Black Swan”… it was a perfectly predictable manmade event.