Nicholas Nassim Taleb Becomes Self-Aware

Nicholas Nassim Tooleb holds a mirror to himself for some much needed self-reflection:

Intellectual Yet Idiot: semi-erudite bureaucrat who thinks he is an erudite; pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand not realizing it is his understanding that may be limited; imparts normative ideas to others: thinks people should act according to their best interests *and* he knows their interests, particularly if they are uneducated “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class.
More socially: subscribes to the New Yorker; never curses on twitter; speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver; has considered voting for Tony Blair; has attended more than 1 TEDx talks and watched more than 2 TED talks; will vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable; has The Black Swan on his shelves but mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence; is member of a club to get traveling privileges; if social scientist uses statistics without knowing how they are derived; when in the UK goes to literary festivals; drinks red wine with steak (never white); used to believe that fat was harmful and has now completely reversed; takes statins because his doctor told him so; fails to understand ergodicity and when explained forgets about it soon later; doesn’t use Yiddish words; studies grammar before speaking a language; has a cousin who worked with someone who knows the Queen; has never read Frederic Dard, Michael Oakeshot, John Gray, or Joseph De Maistre; has never gotten drunk with Russians and went breaking glasses; doesn’t know the difference between Hecate and Hecuba; doesn’t know that there is no difference between “pseudointellectual” and “intellectual”; has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past 5 years; knows at any point in time what his words or actions are doing to his reputation.
But a much easier marker: doesn’t deadlift.

The first step in not being a semi-intellectual blowhard is to recognize you are one, so this I think is an improvement on Taleb’s part, in recognizing his own problem.

has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past 5 years

I guess that would include most physicists, but again, Taleb is smarter than them, becozz black swans…

Intellectual Yet Idiot: semi-erudite bureaucrat who thinks he is an erudite

…and also creates strawmen and misconstructions of experts, bullies experts and scientists who are smarter and or more knowledgeable than him, sells overpriced and useless ‘mini certificates’, and is thin-skinned and cannot take criticism.

Here’s another example of Tooleb pseudo-intellectual sophistry:

Did it ever occur to him that it’s possible to be both worthy of praise and be praised?

Here is Taleb showing his liberal colors again, retweeting in approval something about GMOs and Bernie Sanders, yet many on the ‘alt right’ think he (Taleb) is one of them:

Michael Oakeshot, John Gray, or Joseph De Maistre;

In regard to Joseph de Maistre, an important counter-enlightenment thinker:

Maistre, considered by Masseau and Didier[6] to have been a key figure of what they termed as the Counter-Enlightenment, saw monarchy both as a divinely sanctioned institution and as the only stable form of government.[7] He called for the restoration of the House of Bourbon to the throne of France and argued that the Pope should have ultimate authority in temporal matters. Maistre also claimed that it was the rationalist rejection of Christianity which was directly responsible for the disorder and bloodshed which followed the French Revolution of 1789.[8][9]

Agree with this part:

speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality”

As someone how identifies with NRx, I agree to some extent with this, but an augment against democracy, racial blindness, welfare liberalism, and egalitarianism, is not necessarily an endorsement of an absolutist Catholic monarchy or an endorsement of Taleb. Some (such as myself) favor something different (maybe Protestantism, secession, turning back the dial to before the 60′s, or a non-theistic techno-oligarchy of sorts), but find common ground in opposing democracy and egalitarianism. It’s possible to have technological progress, while eschewing democracy, as in the case of Thiel and others. But one problem I have with Taleb, and to some extent with NRx and the ‘alt right’, is the tendency to advocate populist ideas (such as being ‘anti-fed’, anti-establishment, anti-academia, anti-centralization, anti-Wall St., anti-globalization, pro-Brexit, etc.) while being anti-democracy and advocating elitism. It’s kinda like copying the Sanders/OWS economic platform, the Ron Paul foreign policy platform, and calling yourself ‘right-wing’ or elitist. You cannot have it both ways. Or maybe the hope is that the left’s ‘version’ of elitism will be replaced by a right-wing version of elitism, or something like that. Another problem with Catholicism is whole the ‘sanctity of life’ thing, which proscribes programs that could be beneficial like eugenics.

I lean neoconservative on economics and foreign policy, while opposing things like democracy, egalitarianism, and feminism. Neoconservatism is shamelessly elitist, logically consistent, consequentialist, and right-wing. The neocon brand was hurt by ‘cuckservative’ and the aftermath of the Bush administration, but many neocons and ‘alt right’ agree on the threat to civilization posed by Islam, for example.

Difficulty of NRx Cohesion

Why is it so hard for NRx to be cohesive, on the same page?

This is the subreddit that should have existed all along. Nemester is like the archetypical arrogant forum moderator who abuses his power and has no self awareness.
I feel personally embarrassed having read that email exchange and discovering that his most sincere problem that he was willing to go to war with Hestia over was the fact that they refused to obey his completely arbitrary absurd rules concerned text length.
I will also point out that his actions and flipping out at the idea of certain inconsequential rules not being followed are the classic hallmarks of being on the autism spectrum.
Delete this post if you wish mods, because it only feeds the drama, but I had one of my posts auto-removed by the brevity-bot there (it was just a twitter link) because it triggered his minimal character rules. I decided to message him with ‘>implying lack of brevity is a substitute for quality’ and made it be known that he was, in my opinion, an utter fag, for which I received a ban.

“We respect Atavisionary’s work, but found him difficult to work with. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
–This is the Official (non-ironic) Position of Hestia Society
I’ll let this comment stand, but mods won’t tolerate any drama escalation here. And certainly no personal attacks on Atavisionary/Nemester.

The problem is there are big intellectual egos at stake, which are prone to clashing. We all want to be right; we all want to be ‘kings’ of our own little intellectual fiefdoms. We don’t want to be subordinate to a higher power or authority, but unfortunately that makes cohesion or organization difficult, if not impossible. The evolution of ideas should bear similarity to biological evolution, with ‘good’ ideas supplanting ‘worse’ ones, but this requires that the ‘worse’ ones at least be voluntarily discarded. For-profit organizations are cohesive because there are common, shared goals, and insubordination is punished, but there is also an incentive to conform and be loyal, both financially and socially: promotion and reminiscences. Major parties like the ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans’ also work, despite being non-profit, because they have a lot of rank-and-file members of average IQ that are willing to conform with the agenda, but getting smarter people, where everyone is their own ‘king’, to conform is like herding cats. From the early 80′s up all the way until 2008, when the neocon hegemony imploded, neocons dominated the Republican party, with other variants pushed to the fringe until only much later with the rise of the Tea Party and later, Trump. For Democrats, it’s always been ‘neoliberals’ in charge, with welfare liberals being the minority. In either case, dissent within a large organization isn’t discohesive, because the the ideological majority so overwhelmingly larger than the dissenters that the the dissenters can be easily ignored. NRx, however, is much smaller, which makes it harder to establish an overwhelmingly dominant narrative and or agenda, besides a shared dislike of egalitarianism and democracy. However, there is much disagreement, such as pacifism vs. action, or how billionaire tech libertarians like Peter Thiel, who has expressed criticism of democracy, can possibly be ideologically integrated, or if they should be rejected…Techno-commercialists like Thiel support free markets, technological modernity, and free trade, despite opposing democracy and egalitarianism. NRx has always been more abstract, cerebral, and decentralized than your typical action-based political movement, which is part of it’s appeal to some extent because you get a much higher level of discourse, but as of 2015 has been trying to coalesce into something more closely resembling a ‘movement’, but this is proving difficult, not too surprisingly.

Brexit Happens

Brexit came and went, and the immediate consequences were bad. In overnight trading, hundreds of billions of dollars were lost, as Global markets plunged between 4 percent (United States) to 10 percent (Germany, UK), with billions more projected if Britain enters recession.
Although I agree to some extent with the cause, I disagree with the implementation, and Brexit may cause more problems for Britain than many may have bargained for. An argument against immigration is not necessarily an argument for Brexit.

Before the votes were counted, the bookies posted odds of ‘remain’ winning as high as 70%….how wrong they were, and I was right to not heed the consensus, in my own investing decisions:

On the subject of predictions, as for Brexit, I have no idea haw the vote is going to turn out. The bookies favor ‘remain’ winning, but I’m not so optimistic. Again and again, whether it’s multi-billion dollar funds lagging the S&P 500, billionaire hedge fund manger George Soros in 2013 buying puts in a bull market and losing his investment as the market kept going up, wealthy politicians failing to win (Jeb Bush), or huge companies failing to displace smaller more nimble competitors, more money does not mean smarter money. In many instances, the rich are just as clueless, if not more, as everyone else at many things. But if the S&P 500 falls a lot due to ‘exit’ winning, it will be a great buying opportunity. That I do know with certainty.

Not only bookies, but many commentators also seemed confident about ‘remain’ winning. At one point, as the votes were beginning to be counted, Nigel Farage conceded (prematurely) that ‘remain’ had likely won. The dominant narrative is sometimes wrong.

In anticipation of a bad outcome, I had shorted Germany a couple days earlier, exiting with a modest profit after covering on Friday. I was also long 10-year treasury bonds (which did well after the crash). I bought a weekly S&P 500 ‘put’ contract on Thursday night, as things started to turn south, for a very small amount and sold for a large profit hours later when the markets were down 4%, but I wish I had bought more of them. Overall, ended the day flat.

In agreement with James Altucher, for long-term US investors, Brexit doesn’t mean anything (it may actually be a positive), and I remain optimistic about the US stock market going forward. Brexit will not prevent Facebook and Google from earnings billions of dollars in ad clicks, nor stop people from shopping on Amazon, going to Disneyland, or eating at McDonald’s.

The parallels between ‘exit’, Trump, and the rise of nationalism, have already been covered by the media. Everyone is tired of the ‘status quo’, and seeks a ‘system’ that is different, and these frustrations especially pertain to immigration, whether it’s immigrants coming into America or Muslim immigrants flooding Europe as a consequence of the Syrian Civil War.

Brexit Vote: A Bigger Deal Than the US Presidential Election

The vote still hasn’t happened, yet markets reeling:

German DAX down about 10% in less than two weeks (although it has since recovered a bit)
S&P 500 down 3% from its high made 2 weeks ago
Britain down 9% (it has also recovered a bit)

Did anyone even think of the consequences of trying to recreate Grexit, but with a much bigger economy?

In anticipation of a binary outcome (exit or stay), right now the implied volatility on the weekly options of the S&P 500 is exceedingly high, even higher than before presidential elections. So in other words, according to option implied volatility, the outcome of this vote is deemed to be more important for the US economy than whether Clinton or Trump becomes president, despite all the campaigning, feuding, and media hype.

If this does not scare you a little, it should. Although Britain has many geniuses, many are none too bright. (On message boards you can always tell who is British, because of all the glaring typos and grammatical errors, as well as spelling color as colour, colon as bowel, and mom as mum. Many people mistakenly assume America’s education system is bad, or that Americans are uneducated and unrefined, but Britain, by in large, is worse. Britain’s standard of living, despite the outward opulence of the royal family, is actually quite poor.)

The global economy is already weak and Brexit may make things worse. America will be insulated to a large extent, but it will hurt Germany. Some frame it as an issue about immigration, but Britain doesn’t have to leave in order to fix its immigration and laborer problem. As a sovereign entity, they can defy Merkel if they so choose, without leaving. Merkel needs them to stay, so Britain has a lot of leverage come negotiations.

This is why absolute monarchies or oligarchies are best government, because ordinary people cannot have such a disproportionate impact on outcomes. America’s democratic system creates the illusion that people can make a difference and have choices, but the most important votes, rightfully, are left to congress. The tripartite system creates redundancies and safeguards, ensuring that no one individual or the masses can have too much of an impact. No referendums. Imagine if Americans were offered an option to choose lower taxes, more welfare spending, or budget surpluses: many would vote for all three, not knowing that tradeoffs between spending and surpluses are unavoidable.

He’s Right Again

He’s right again (Martin Shkreli in response to Senile Sanders):

People such as myself and Martin want to create economic environments where the best and the brightest can succeed to their fullest potential – to create tomorrow’s Facebooks, Teslas, Googles, Amazons, and Ubers – whereas far-left liberals like Sanders think wealth can be created by spreading it from those who earned it to those who didn’t, or by wasting money on useless social programs for society’s ‘losers’, neglecting the ‘winners’. Imagine a Football team where only the worst players are chosen, and the best are expelled or relegated to 3rd or 4th string. That’s Sander’s vision for America. How are we supposed to inspire America’s smartest when policy neglects them? How is America supposed to compete with countries like China and South Korea, that elevates, not suppresses, talent? The free market is still the best path to prosperity and innovation, of all the alternatives, but it can’t work if far-left policy shackles it with excess regulation, high taxes, and misappropriation of resources. As Martin Shkreli understands, we need policy that promotes, helps America’s best and brightest. And those who succeed should be able to keep what they earn instead of having to spread their wealth.

Welcome To the Working Class Nick Denton!

From Justine Tunney: Welcome To the Working Class Nick Denton!

As many already know, Gawker recently filed bankruptcy and is seeking to sell its assets to cover the Hogan judgement. Justine Tunney, one of the earliest pioneers of NRx (until she was unfortunately expelled), recounts how Gawker tries to ruin lives:

You may remember me as the woman whose reputation was destroyed by your Valleywag writer Sam Biddle, who labeled me a “Pro-Slavery Lunatic.” Tsk tsk. Your staff didn’t even have the professionalism to link to actual tweet for which I was indicted.

Because if you had, your readers would have been able to clearly see I was talking about how we should help Walmart workers, who suffer injustices worse than slavery. But your late media empire didn’t care about the truth. The only thought that probably crossed Sam Biddle’s trustifarian mind was that he could make more ad revenue for ol’ Nick Denton by destroying the life of yet another innocent working class American.

Good points. As usual, in today’s culture of shaming and sanctimonious mob vigilantism, we seldom hear the other side of the story. Once a narrative is established that affirms a preexisting liberal bias, the reputation damage cannot be undone.

But I don’t pity myself. I’m actually quite fortunate compared to most of your victims. I never lost my job.

Kudos to Google for having a spine and defending their employees instead of capitulating, but they need to stop pulling YouTube videos and disabling accounts that accidentally ‘violate’ their intentionally Kafkaesque rules on ‘hate speech’ and ‘copyrights’. Often the latter is used a boilerplate excuse for the former. Someone will report a video that is not 100% PC, and YouTube will invoke some arbitrary ‘copyrights’ rule as justification for pulling it down, such as for music or images used in the video.

Another example, which I forgot, is Pax Dickinson, yet another target of the Puritanical SJW digital lynch mob, who lost his programming job:

Take for instance Pax Dickinson. You got him fired from his job back in 2013 for a joke he made on Twitter a few years earlier. A joke which, twenty years ago, would have just made everyone at a party pause for a moment of discomfort and move on. But his entire career was destroyed. He tried to find work for years, with no success.

His employer was Business Insider, a ‘news’ site that pays interns a pittance to churn out low-quality articles and infographics for page views, and will fire interns who fail to meet page view quotas. Henry Blodget, the founder of Business Insider, like Ivandjiiski of Zerohedge, has a checkered past and was barred from the securities industry by the SEC for conflict of interest violations. Is it any surprise those who preach the most virtue are often the most morally compromised? Not if you understand the hypocrisy of liberalism.

Nick Denton, you’ve committed far more wrong than Pax and I ever have or will, and you deserve so much worse. But I won’t revel in your newfound equality with ordinary Americans.

Unfortunately, I doubt this will have much of a ‘dent’ on Denton, besides lost money. He’ll probably quickly be poached by another media company for a high salary, and the whole thing will start again.

Correct Predictions, Part 2

Not much going on again. Some time ago NRx and rationalism began running out of ideas. Too many open threads and link round-ups. ‘Echo chamber’ does seem like an apt description, but it’s a chamber where stale ideas are reverberated, not new ideas. Everything has become so predictable, expected (the inevitability of everything) that even mass shootings like in Orlando, the worst domestic terrorist attack since 911, only arouse us of days, before the holiness signalling wears off and everything returns to baseline.

Over and over again I keep being right: Bitcoin keeps going up, now at $630 on its way to $1,200 again, and even higher. Been telling readers to buy since $100 in 2013.

Also Snapchat, now valued above $16 billion, up from $13 billion last year on its way to $40+ billion soon. I was right to ignore the doom and gloom: it really is different this time. These valuations are sustainable and will keep rising even if few can understand why. That’s why this blog exists: to help explain.

A lot of pundits get hung-up on profitability, not realizing that userbase expansion is more important than immediately making money. In Part One, I explain how the ‘profit switch’ once flicked ‘on’ will allow web 2.0 companies like Snapchat to fill their high valuations:

As for web 2.0 unicorns, profitability right now is less important than the demonstrable ability to generate profits down the road, when the timing is right. Many successful web 2.0 companies, like Snapchat, are intentionally delaying revenue to build their userbases, but inventors are confident that should Snapchat ‘flip’ the switch and go ‘live’ with their ad platform, Snapchat will succeed at mobile advertising as Facebook and Instagram have.

Snapchat’s ad platform will be the second biggest after Instagram/Facebook. Major bands like Nike already have promotional offers.

Tesla is another example: many on the left argue the cars are too expensive and Tesla is unprofitable: yes Tesla cars are expensive, but it’s still a huge niche (the high-end car market is a multi-billion dollar industry), and also Tesla is cash flow positive. Tesla makes 20-30% profit margins on each car sold.

The luxury car market is growing faster than economy and is a $300 billion dollar industry:

And Tesla has greater salves volume and growth than its competitors:

A common retort is that a large company with very deep pockets (Apple, Microsoft, Sony, etc.) can overwhelm a smaller successful company and steal its market share, by simply spending a lot of money to put the smaller company out of business. But just as Jeb Bush could not buy victory in 2015, it often doesn’t work that way in consumer technology, some examples being:

People said the same thing about Google in 2004 ‘Anyone can make a search engine; Microsoft has so much money they can crush Google’

Same thing about Facebook in 2010 ‘Anyone can built a social network’

Same thing about Apple in 2003-08 ‘Sony/Microsoft/ etc can make a music player/phone’

n the 80′s would have guessed Microsoft, decades later, would still be the dominant player in operating systems? Apple and Linux never got above a couple percent.

On the subject of predictions, as for Brexit, I have no idea haw the vote is going to turn out. The bookies favor ‘remain’ winning, but I’m not so optimistic. Again and again, whether it’s multi-billion dollar funds lagging the S&P 500, billionaire hedge fund manger George Soros in 2013 buying puts in a bull market and losing his investment as the market kept going up, wealthy politicians failing to win (Jeb Bush), or huge companies failing to displace smaller more nimble competitors, more money does not mean smarter money. In many instances, the rich are just as clueless, if not more, as everyone else at many things. But if the S&P 500 falls a lot due to ‘exit’ winning, it will be a great buying opportunity. That I do know with certainty.

Part of the reason I am almost always right (especially about finance, web 2.0, and economics) has to do with the fact I have a fundamental understanding of how the world works, which took about ten years and reading hundreds of books and articles to acquire this understanding. ‘Understanding’ is a lot like a martial art – you have to practice and get in the right ‘mindset’, and eventually you get better. Also a lot of observation and basic pattern recognition, to understand why some trends and companies persist and succeed (web 2.0, Bay Area real estate, Bitcoin, stocks) and others fail (jawbone, fitbit, etc.). Most people don’t understand anything, don’t know how to do anything, and keep making the same mistakes over and over. Once you have a better understanding, it is like having a 6th sense, the clouds parted and the path to enlightenment.

Conspiracy Theories

Not much going on…same as usual. The media is like stack of megaphones placed in front a buzzing insect, amplifying the noise until it’s defending, working everyone into a frenzy. Tuning out the sensationalist media hype is the easiest way to not make investing mistakes, as well as live a happier life.

There are some conspiracies surrounding the Orlando nightclub shooting: what if the gunman didn’t act alone?

For some reason everyone gets worked up over conspiracy theories. ‘What if we’re all being lied to?’ What if? Then what. Usually there’s a pause, because, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Are you going to stop going to work because 911 may have been an ‘inside job’. Does it affect your life in any material way, besides the nagging doubts over what your read and see from the media. Are people suddenly going to wake from their metabolic induced stupors and raise hell. No.

Were there multiple shooters? Doubt it. Otherwise there would be a manhunt. Given that there were 400 people in the nightclub, it would have been impossible for there to have been a second shooter without witnesses providing at least a facial composite. There is only one instance in recent history of a mass murder being unsolved, the Las Cruces bowling alley massacre, which amazingly 25 years later is still cold.

Related: Second shooter involved in Orlando massacre theories debunked

FOMC Stupidity

Form the Reformed Broker: This is a low-flying panic attack

There are too many people who believe that just because they have a blog and opinions, they can also pretend to be fed chairman, because obviously the fed is doing it all wrong, and it’s up to the lowly blogger to ‘set them strait’.

The FOMC meeting is on Wednesday, so as expected there is a lot of Thursday morning quarterbacking by said bloggers about how the fed is ‘holding back the economy’ by not raising rates.

Josh writes:

I’m not a Fed critic, but this is just getting pathetic now. You think you’re protecting the economy with NIRP and ZIRP but at a certain point, you’re really just threatening it.

Prima facie, this logic is flawed. There is no evidence arbitrary raising rates and or setting a high inflation target will spontaneously boost real growth; if it did, they would have done it already. Japan would have done it. Europe…everyone! lol Really, think about it. I’m sure they (the fed) have considered all the options, with PHDs perusing hundreds of studies, eventually setting on low interest rates as the best form of policy. The odds of a financial planner blogger who moonlights as an economist suddenly finding something the fed has ‘missed’, is zero.

f you’re trying to produce confidence, then jeopardizing the ability to earn profits among the largest banks in the world is probably not the way to do it. And that’s exactly what these policies are doing, globally. Look at the European banks right now!

Hmm….last time I checked major banks like JP Morgan, bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs are reporting record profits and have record high balance sheets. There is, again, no evidence they are being hurt by low interest rates. Why would they? Think about it. They make money from the differential (what they charge to lend vs. the base rate), so it doesn’t matter. If they are lending money at 10% and risk-free is .25%, that is a damn good deal for them. And all those overdraft fees, too. Also, high interest rates in 2005-2006 didn’t stop the financial sector from melting down in 2008. Europe’s banks are weak because Europe’s economy is also weak, not because of low interest rates.

Employment is growing, but probably toward its limit. Wage growth, despite the headline miss on jobs last month, is sticking. Employers are reporting open positions they need to fill and difficulty finding candidates. “Transitory” commodity weakness has been ameliorated somewhat by the rebound in crude. Housing is solid. Retail sales are not as bad as expected.

In spite of firming data, raising rates is unnecessary due to reserve currency status and the insatiable demand for low-yielding US debt, attributable the ‘flight to safety’ trade, which has really picked up since 2014 as Europe and emerging markets have faltered. Also, raising rates may tip the economy in a recession, like in the early 80′s after Volker embarked on his massive rate hike campaign. Unlike the 70′s though, there is scant evidence of inflation as measured by the CPI, although inflation exits elsewhere like rent, healthcare, and tuition.

Another common argument is ‘the fed is losing credibility’. Yaaawn. Been hearing that since 2009, and the market has since rallied 200%, and inflation is low and the dollar is high. Had you listed to those doomsayers you would have missed on one of the greatest stock rallies in history. Because they are not an elected office, the fed doesn’t care what you think, anyway.

The Physics Police

This article went viral: Dear Dr B: Why not string theory?

This article is a casebook example of the the modus operandi of liberalism, which is to try to ‘save’ people from perceived evils as determined by said liberal, whether it be big corporations, ‘greedy’ capitalists, ‘predatory’ lenders, genetically modified food, ‘institutional racism’ (a favorite), an so on. Or how liberals try to intervene in the marketplace, because they think they know what is ‘best’.

In this article, it’s about ‘saving’ scientists from wasting time on string theory, because Sabine Hossenfelder has apparently taken it upon herself to be the arbiter of what is worthwhile or not, for the ‘good’ of the physics community.

Because we might be wasting time and money and, ultimately, risk that progress stalls entirely.

Some days I side with Polchinski and Gross and don’t think it makes that much of a difference. It really is an interesting topic and it’s promising. On other days I think we’ve wasted 30 years studying bizarre aspects of a theory that doesn’t bring us any closer to understanding quantum gravity, and it’s nothing but an empty bubble of disappointed expectations. Most days I have to admit I just don’t know.

New theories take not just decades, but centuries to develop. There was at least a three-hundred year gap between the development of Newtonian gravity and general relativity. Much of string theory is only a couple decades old. If physics and mathematicians decide that string theory is untenable, they will gradually abandon it, similar to how in capitalism products become obsoleted in favor of newer, better ones. There is no need for someone to determine which theories are worth pursuing or or not; the ‘marketplace’ of ideas does that automatically, gradually nudging the natural progression of research towards better ideas as old ones are discarded or modified. For example, 120 years ago aether theories were conjectured the propagation of light and gravitation, but these theories were later were supplanted by special relativity.