I had a lot of wonderful "Aha" moments listening to this audio book about Antifragile vs. Fragile systems. The author has identified a key underlying paradyne for failure or success, whether personal, in business or with government programs.
Long ago, another book: Leadership and the new science by Margaret Wheatley convinced me that nature is self organizing and business can be set up to be self organizing. Nassim Nicholas Taleb echo's that idea and states, the natural order is overwhelmingly Antifragile, while our manmade order tends to be Fragile. The earth and mankind have evolved all by themselves without some great leader calling the shots, because nature is Antifragile. If we listen/obey leaders who tell us how to live our own lives (which we already know intuitively and logically), we are likely to become Fragile.
Fragility is all about risks. An activity is Fragile, if the downside (negative) risks predominate over the upside risks or the downside risks are greater than the upsize risks. Fragile is the property of most manmade systems. How does that apply to us? Modernity has created structures that allows certain groups of people, like corporate bankers, politicians and academics to take excessive risks without any skin in the game and thereby pass the downside consequences onto others, making them Fragile. One way avoid this Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues, is to make ourselves Antifragile by insisting all decisions makers affecting our lives have skin in the game. However, bankers, politicians and academics usually have no skin in the game. In fact, often they gain at the expense of the people they serve. So the solution is, limit the size and power of banks, corporations and government to minimize the damage.
Taleb also points out that top down decisions by leaders who don't understand complex system, such as our economy, and have no skin in the game pass laws/regulations that make small problems large; for example our Financial Crisis:
1. The Federal Reserve made our financial system Fragile when it tried to prevent a small adjustment/recession by keeping interest rates too low and ended up causing a housing bubble plus the great recession.
2. Taxpayers became Fragile when large banks took excessive downside risk because the government protected the banks against that risk at taxpayer expense.
There is a bit of fluff in the book, but overall Taleb makes a great case limiting downsize risk and how we can achieve it. He deserves Nobel Prize.
Economists usually talk in terms of supply & demand, return on investment, productivity, efficiency and so on; a rather materialistic approach. Humans are usually treated like machines, i.e. human capital or human resources.
In "Knowledge and Power", George Gilder takes a different tack to economic growth. According to Gilder, economic growth is a first order function of human Creativity. The Creator is the Entrepreneur. The Entrepreneur knows his field and has rapid access to the information he requires. Therefore, he has the Knowledge required to realize his idea. However, he also must have Power over his project so he'll be willing to take the risk and start a new business. If we give him the Power, he'll create jobs and grow the economy.
What an enlightening and simple concept. Give the Entrepreneur the Power to control his life and his project and he'll be off taking all kinds of risk to realize his dream. That means Power needs to be distributed to where the Knowledge is. If Power is centralized, bad decisions are made due to insufficient Knowledge and lack of skin in the game.
Geoge does not engage in a Zero Sum Game like Marxist economists. He does not endorse the Keynesian theory of Growth though stimulus, which is just another Zero Sum Game. He goes beyond Supply Side Economics. He puts human creativity front and center. When creativity lies dormant, there is stagnation.
Knowledge and Power is well researched. Gilder reviews many other books on the subject.
Growth = f(Entrepreneur + Knowledge + Information + Power)
A lot has been written about the Financial Crisis, but nothing comes closer to an analysis of all the factors and their relative contribution to the crisis. What is more, John Allison's book is easy to understand for anyone, with or without a background in finance, and offers the necessary solutions to prevent a recurrence.
You will be surprised to learn that the top 3 culprits aren't the ones touted by the pols and the media, but if you really think it through, you'll agree.
Why is American Exceptionalism foreign to Obama? More elaboration on what motivates Obama by D'Souza, author of Obama's Rage. Obama is living his fathers dream of fighting against Colonialism. His hidden agenda is to achieve equality for the ex colonies by reducing the power and influence of ex colonial powers like Great Brittan, France as well as the US empire. Obama's domestic and foreign policies are often puzzling, but well explained by D'Souza.
I thought Obama was a closet Marxist, but D'Souza explains it better. Obama is living his fathers dream. His father was an Anti Colonialist/Imperialist with Marxist leanings and his mission was to fight the British Empire. Anti Colonialism is not well understood in the US (it is weel understood in the rest of the world), so Obama can follow in his father's footsteps without arousing suspicion. His hidden agenda is to achieve equality for the ex colonies by reducing the power and influence of ex imperial powers like Great Brittan, France as well as the US empire. So Obama's domestic and foreign policies are often puzzling, but well explained by D'Souza.
Jesse says. the rich get richer, because they buy themselves the right members of the 2 Gangs, the Republicans and Democrat Party. He has got most of the facts right, but he really does not understand the root cause of all that corruption. We cannot fix the problem by getting rid of the 2 parties or changing to a multiparty system, a la Europe.
While Jesse supports Ron Paul for his push to reign in the Military/Industrial Complex, abolish Foreign Aid and Corporate Welfare; he is opposed to reforming entitlements or reign in excessive Union influence.
What Jesse misses is that starting with Woodrow Wilson, the Federal Government has assumed powers far beyond those enumerated in the Constitution and the only way to cut the corruption is to shrink the Federal Government back to the enumerated powers and return those powers to the States.
Why didn't we reign in military spending after the end of the cold war? Why do we accept unconstitutional laws like the Patriot Act (allows the goverment to spy on us) and latest unconstitutional Defense Appropriation Bill (Lets the military arrest and detain civilians indefinitely)? Because the Military/Industrial Complex keeps us in a state of fear.
We'll written history of how the government keeps us under control and the money flowing into the pockets of defense contractors.
Stossel's book successfully argues that our government (1) uses its power to force us to live according to the ideas of Washington Bureaucrats, (2) it takes on many jobs that the private sector does more efficiently and (3) does things, we can do ourselves. He backs his findings with great examples.
The most outrageous example is the FDA not allowing terminally ill patients to try new medications, because of possible side effects.
Ann compares the American Revolution with the French Revolution. Why did the French Revolution end in failure and why did the American Revolution succeed. The difference, being an agnostic Mob in France vs. our Founders, who subscribed to higher spiritual values. Now the Mob has taken over America. They want the Creators and Producers pay ever more taxes, so that they can vote themselves ever more money. If we don't stop it soon, this will end in a failure of the Republic.
This is story, I can relate to. This is a biography, I could not stop listening to. Engrossing!
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