Tag Archives: ethics

Antifragile Medicine, Las Vegas, Real World Risk, Status, Beirut Madinati, Commons, Ethics | Facebook


In Las Vegas at a conference, I explained fragility as nonlinearity:
mix a $2,000 bottle of wine with a $10 one. The 2 bottles will be worth less than $1,005 each.  5/12/16


Friends, our uberization of education is working, working. We intent to keep it at the artisanal level (no online stuff, no scaling) because we enjoy lecturing and want to keep enjoying the atmosphere. Artisanal is a way of being.

We added a quantitative certificate to the qualitative one we already have. The quantitative certificate is August 15-19 in Stony Brook. More advanced, deeper.

Note that the June 6-10 program has ~ 50 people registered. Note that we gave a certain number of scholarships (more than universities!)


Try to talk to a stranger without signaling your status and see how pleasant you will be to him/her.
This is how salespeople and con men operate. They make you crave their company because you do not feel threatened. 5/12/16


I’d rather live in a place where nothing appears to make sense but things work, rather than in a place where things make sense but don’t work. 5/9/16


If you are in Beirut, please vote for Beirut Madinati in Sunday’s municipal election. They are part of the recent worldwide movement to displace established rent seekers and increase governance.
As you can observe, not one of them is wearing a tie.

Note that, in a globalized world, municipal rule is central. We are inching back to the autonomous Phoenician city states.

PS- I do not vote in Beirut (I am registered in my ancestral village Amioun although my grandfather moved to Beirut in 1922).

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's photo.


The best definition of a commons: a space in which you are treated by others the way you treat them.

This continues the previous conversation and connects the commons to skin in the game and golden and silver rules. 5/5/15


What I picked up from Elinor Ostrom is that the private and the public are not the only two entities. There is something called a “commons” in between. As with any complex systems, people behave differently at a different scale. This explains why the municipal is different from the national. It also explains how tribes operate: you are part of a specific group that is larger than the narrow *you*, but narrower than humanity in general.

People share some things *but not others* withing a specified group. And there is a protocol for dealing with the outside. Arab pastoral tribes have firm rules of hospitality towards nonhostile strangers who don’t threaten their commons, but get violent when the stranger is a threat.

The “public good” is something abstract, taken out of a textbook. Everything abstract fails. To repeat, scale, rather than type of regime, is the prime explanation of the flop of communism.

PS – One of the themes in SKIN IN THE GAME is that the “individual” is ill-defined an entity. “Me” is more likely to be a group than a single person. Note that the scale transformation (a group doesn’t have the preferences of an individual) brings us to the flaw in the “selfish gene” theory, which was shown to be mathematically shody by E.O. Wilson and Nowak as well as Yaneer Bar-Yam. 5/3/16


You can very easily distinguish real philosophers and scientists from the CV-building, academic rat variety. The real thing tell you what they are *trying* to figure out, not what they *did* in past career. 4/30/16


Admonish your friends in private; praise them in public. And distrust anyone who does the reverse.

(Secrete amicos admone; lauda palam.) 4/28/16


Someone saying “ethics is good for success” is missing the entire point of ethics.  4/19/16


Added a page as public service (he will now leave me alone, this is to protect others, preserve the integrity of the system)
This is the minority rule: it takes only a few very very intolerant and tenacious people to make the system more honest.
http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/SmithBSVendor.html  4/18/16


Friends, this is what I wrote in The Black Swan about rare events: they are very difficult to assess probabilistically. Not underpriced: hard to price, hence one should avoid being fragile to them. 4/15/16

Accordingly I have asked for a formal retraction of an article by Noah Smith (someone who has been spreading nonsense for years) and who apparently has not read the book.

Added a page:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's photo.

Friends, comments are invited for this draft…

Friends, comments are invited for this draft on a philosophy paper w/ Constantine Sandis, “ETHICS AND ASYMMETRY: SKIN IN THE GAME AS A REQUIRED HEURISTIC FOR ACTING UNDER UNCERTAINTYC. Sandis & N.N. Taleb
Abstract: We propose a global and mandatory heuristic that anyone involved in an action that can possibly generate harm for others, even probabilistically, should be required to be exposed to some damage, regardless of context. We link the rule to various philosophical approaches to ethics and moral luck. http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/SandisTaleb.pdf

via Friends, comments… | Facebook.

Nassim Taleb – CNBC 1/28/13

“If you cannot use randomness and disorder and variability and volatility as fuel, you won’t make it in the long run.”

Nassim Taleb on Icahn/Ackman: ‘They’re Only Human’
Monday, 28 January 2013 10:08 AM ET
Nassim Taleb, author of “Antifragile” and “The Black Swan,” shares his outlook for the U.S. economy, investment strategies and his thoughts on the heated conversation between Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman over Herbalife
Source: CNBC.com


“Banks borrow cheaply because you’re lending them every April 15 ok, you’re stopping them out.”

Nassim Taleb: We Have to Address the Core of the Problem
Monday, 28 January 2013 10:36 AM ET
Nassim Taleb, author of “Antifragile” and “The Black Swan,” discusses the U.S. economy. “This is not a healthy system. We have to address the core of the problem and we have not,” he says
Source: CNBC.com


via nassim taleb – CNBC.


TELL THEM THEY ARE UNETHICAL – Telling social scientists and other journalists that they are *wrong* doesn’t bother them much -they sort of know that they are just playing a game. What makes them erupt and lose control is when one tells them that what they do is *immoral* -by harming others without bearing consequences. Then they really get into cognitive dissonance, throwing all manner of objects they can grab at the messenger, demonizing him, trying to strip him of any authority (and in the process building and spreading his argument). They find it very hard to accept that they are themselves committing ethical violations: it makes them feel dirty deep inside.

via TELL THEM THEY ARE… | Facebook.

Wouldn’t it be unethical for a thinker…

Wouldn’t it be unethical for a thinker or a scholar, or a philosopher to accept an award ? Doesn’t it imply the debasement of knowledge by turning it into competitive sports?
(Friends, I would love to hear your opinions; I made up my mind so far but this is an interesting ethical question, and one that would determine all my future decisions. )

via Wouldn’t it be… | Facebook.