“..ask a U.S. citizen if some semi-governmental agency should control the prices of cars, morning newspapers, and wine…he would jump in anger, as it appears to violate every principle the country stands for….this is not France.” Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Excerpt from “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder”, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:

“This idea that systems may need some stress and agitation has been missed by those who grasp it in one area and not in another. So we can now also see the domain dependence of our minds, a ‘domain’ being an area or category of activity. Some people can understand an idea in one domain, say, medicine, and fail to recognize it in another, say, socioeconomic life. Or they get it in the classroom, but not in the more complicated texture of the street. Humans somehow fail to recognize situations outside the contexts in which they usually learn about them.

Another expression of domain dependence: ask a U.S. citizen if some semi-governmental agency with a great deal of independence (and no interference from Congress) should control the prices of cars, morning newspapers, and Malbec wine, as its domain specialty. He would jump in anger, as it appears to violate every principle the country stands for, and call you a Communist post-Soviet mole for even suggesting it. OK. Then ask him if that same government agency should control foreign exchange, mainly the rate of the dollar against the euro and the Mongolian tugrit. Same reaction: this is not France. Then very gently point out to him that the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States is in the business of controlling and managing the price of another good, another price, called the lending rate, the interest rate in the economy (and has proved to be good at it). The libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul was called a crank for suggesting the abolition of the Federal Reserve, or even restricting its role. But he would also have been called a crank for suggesting the creation of an agency to control other prices.”

Posted on November 12, 2013, in Postings. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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