Nasssim Taleb has warned of 2 companies sitting on mounds of risk waiting to fail 

  1. "In December he lectured bankers at Société Générale, France’s second biggest bank. He told them they were sitting on a mountain of risks – a menagerie of black swans. They didn’t believe him. Six weeks later the rogue trader and black swan Jérôme Kerviel landed them with $7.2 billion of losses." (from business.timesonline.co.uk)
  2. "Likewise, the government-sponsored institution Fannie Mae, when I look at their risks, seems to be sitting on a barrel of dynamite, vulnerable to the slightest hiccup. But not to worry, their large staff of scientists deem these events 'unlikely.'" (from his book the Black Swan)
I would like to note before I type more that Nassim also believes in positive black swans. (see my old post, Investing for Home runs, to learn about what a Black Swan is)

Nassim says he has trouble sleeping at night because he believes we could, we could be in the most difficult time in history since the American Revolution.  As an optimist one would like to take this sound bite with a grain of salt but if we look at his track record the man has been correct on some pretty big things.  And as of October 14th the investment firm that Nassim advises has gained 50% or more this year (from Bloomberg).  Note that Nassim is quoted as saying ``I am very sad to be vindicated,''.  One of the many interesting thoughts in these articles and videos is that he mentions the idea of banks becoming more like utilities (see the Time article).  Here are some links to recent videos and articles that give you more insight.


And a recent video of Nassim Taleb pretty fired up about this fiasco.



Here's to hoping a nice positive Black Swan will follow this humongous negative one!

A nice tie into this financial meltdown is the Dunning-Krueger Effect, read my post called Ignorance Grows Confidence to learn about it.

One more nice connection is the book Hot, Flat & Crowded, which also hits on the notion that the world economy is one economy now.

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