Sunday, September 26, 2010

Taleb: Stimulus Program was a Downer

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who has spotted more than one naked emperor, is not impressed by government attempts "to get the economy going."

In Montreal during a speech that was part of Canada’s Salon Speakers series, he said:
Obama did exactly the opposite of what should have been done. He surrounded himself with people who exacerbated the problem. You have a person who has cancer and instead of removing the cancer, you give him tranquilizers. When you give tranquilizers to a cancer patient, they feel better but the cancer gets debt is higher than it was in 2008 and unemployment is worse.
And then he really poured it on:
Today there is a dependency on people who have never been able to forecast anything.
Taleb, a native of Lebanon, gave his speech in French to an audience of Quebec business people, and also said Canada’s fiscal situation makes the country a safer investment than the U.S.


  1. He is one of the few I have been paying attention to and always gets my attention. He has been saying the same thing for nearly 2 years now. is falling on deaf ears. Looks like the 'cancer' will have to get far more painful before the patient becomes concerned enough to seek real treatment.

  2. I wish he and everyone else would stop with the terrible metaphors, from drug addicts to alcoholics to medical care. The medical care ones are probably the worst. Do doctors EVER give cancer patients tranquilizers? I mean maybe that is his point but I doubt he meant to metaphorically say, "They're giving them stuff that is irrelevant" rather than "They're giving them stuff that simply eases the pain rather than removes the root cause of the problem". Can a doctor weigh in on this? This just seem like an especially egregious affront to the English language.