Saturday, January 31, 2009

Join the Nassimers

And, on the subject of bankers, Nassim has started a Facebook group called Make the Bankers Accountable - J'Accuse!!!.  He wants it to go viral. Join now.

PS And, incidentally, Nassim has added a nuance to his call to nationalise the banks:
'Nationalise the banks, limit the rewards to those who work in what he calls the 'utility' part of the system and have a completely uninsured second leg that can take all the risks it wants and lose its shirt...'


  1. I would, if it were not for Facebook.

  2. Not sure If I can sign this as much as I would like too, even as I generally agree with Sir Taleb.

    It seems to me that the issue is one of the Wests Corporatism and China Mercantilism. These are both very different things from capitalism and free markets.

    We also cannot run a society on any kind of retrospective justice, however desirable sometimes that may be.

    As too any sort of mob justice, if a crime has been committed it is a matter for the duly authorised authorities to discover and prosecute, regardless of their competence to undertake such an investigation.

    Unless of course my argument can be falsified?

  3. I second passer by on all counts.

  4. I face both ways on this. I would normally agree with passer by and Frank about retrospective justice. And I dislike Facebook's user agreement with a passion. But I did join Nassim's group, because although I question "mandatorily return their bonuses" (and much else that Roubini says should be done) I do think considerable light needs to be shone on the system and that this might help. Some sense of shame, some saying of sorry, some voluntary surrender of bonuses to charity, say, has got to be right - especially as some recent payments came right out of taxpayers bailout money.

    At heart though the system of fiat money since 1971 has always been immoral. When it finally falls apart, given that no nation's mint is truly open to gold any more, billions worldwide are going to suffer. In that context finer points of law I think pale into some sort of insignificance. Not the rule of law as a whole. That breakdown is what we are going to be struggling to avoid. Germany in the 30s shows us how not to go. But a considerable amount of popular anger is inevitable. It needs to be intelligent anger. So I signed.

    On the moral - not mandatory - points at issue one can do worse than read Paul Krugman from December, the recent Nobel prizewinner whose work on clustering helped explain how four billion people were in the process of powering themselves out of poverty since 1980 - at least until 2007. That focus on the needs of the world's poorest, notably picked up by Paul Collier at Oxford, is another key to making sane and humane decisions today.

  5. If you want to have your pound of flesh with bankers then forget the "greed" tag, its in the job description, they probably think you are being nice to them. No to really insult them is the "stupid" tag.

    Folks with a lot of cash (not all) tend to think that they have their pile becasue they are clever, to be shown other wise will really hurt their egos and maybe get through to their consciences.

    Ridicule will be what works the best "how can clever people, and I assume you are clever, be so stark raving stupid?" is the question to ask your neighborhood banker.

    As for the politcos, calling them stupid wont work, they get called it all the time, its in their job description too, but betrayal of the national interest, thats the most serious accusation you can make of any politician regardless of party, its worse than accusing them of lying.

    So you have stupid bankers and treacherous politicians, with ambitious China by fair means or foul looking on and funding the circus, a very filthy manage trois?

    Establishments will pull together, politicians will spin, bankers will hide, the press will miss key important points in its reporting, the judiciary will laugh, but the historians will write the story, and they wont be missing out any details.

    It could be the decline and fall of the West (I hope not), we got lazy and they got stupid they will write, here are their names.

  6. They are stupid, greedy, and swines (and I have joined the Facebook group, even though mildly allergic to such things unless they are about Scandinavian crime fiction).

    Can we have a law so that the banks have to go back to what they were pre-Thatcher? i.e. they would only lend money to those who had adequate security. That does not seem too difficult a concept to me. (But then, I'm a scientist - a simple soul who believes in the power of logic and evidence.)