Friday, December 5, 2008

Interview with Nassim Taleb

An interesting interview with Nassim Taleb on Charlie Rose (HT Vijay). Talking about Bernanke and other economsts, he says

It's just that class of people who are into economics, and have this illusion, [who] provide us with these analytics that provide us with the illusion of understanding the world and that I find very dangerous. Because the economic establishment, as a class, has been extremely incompetent in history. It's like medieval medicine. Medieval doctors killed more patients than they saved.. they can't predict better than cab drivers...And I blame this crisis on economsts, financial economists particularly.

This is very much similar to what Mises talks about in Human Action, which I cover in another blog post
Mainstream economists today such as Krugman and Bernanke use macroecomomic theories and build complex mathematical models using “scientific principles” to model the economy. These aren't built on axioms about the fundamenetal nature of human behavior but rather built upon historical data and events. They use the methods of science by measuring all types of indices in the economy such as unemployment and prices and then plug them into their models and formulas to decide how to intervene in the market in order to accomplish some type of policy goal. They look like they know what they are doing because they use the facade of science, but in reality, their economics is pseudo-science and their models are worthless, as we just learned again for the millionth time.

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