Jan 14, 2013

Hyman Minsky on stability

Stability is unstable.

~ Hyman Minsky

Nassim Taleb on confusing the social science of economics with the physical sciences

It was confidently believed that the scientific successes of the industrial revolution could be carried through into the social sciences, particularly with such movements as Marxism.  Pseudoscience came with a collection of idealistic nerds who tried to create a tailor-made society, the epitome of which is the central planner.  Economics was the most likely candidate for such use of science; you can disguise charlatanism under the weight of equations, and nobody can catch you since there is no such thing as a controlled experiment.

~ Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness, 2nd Edition, p. 108

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Nassim Taleb on the illusion of stability of pegged currencies in Southeast Asia in 1997

[W]e are not sure that the world we live in is well charted.  We will see that the judgment derived from the analysis of these past attributes may on occasion mislead you and take you in the opposite direction.  Sometimes market data becomes a simple trap; it shows you the opposite of its nature, simply to get you to invest in the security or mismanage your risks.  Currencies that exhibit the largest historical stability, for example, are the most prone to crashes.  This was bitterly discovered in the summer of 1997 by investors who chose the safety of pegged currencies of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand (they were pegged to the U.S. dollar in a manner to exhibit no volatility, until their sharp, sudden, and brutal devaluations.)

~ Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness, 2nd Edition, p. 102

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Jan 10, 2013

Buffett says banks properly capitalized, pose no threat to U.S. (2003)

The banks will not get this country in trouble, I guarantee it.  The capital ratios are huge, the excesses on the asset side have been largely cleared out.

~ Warren Buffet, Bloomberg, January 10, 2103

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