Tag Archives: communism

Tooleb becomes self-aware, part 2

It looks like Nassim Nicholas Tooleb is becoming self-aware again in a recent Medium post appropriately titled The Intellectual Yet Idiot (in which he expands on his original Facebook post). Just replace all instances of ‘IYI’ with ‘Tooleb’ and it’s a perfect description of him.

For those who think Tooleb is part of the alt-right, he’s not. He’s not even a conservative but rather a liberal pretending to be a libertarian, who frequently attacks the rich and corporations:

What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools, and PhDs as these are needed in the club.

Tooleb doesn’t oppose democracy and populism; rather he believes it’s been corrupted by the rich and corporations, as well as ivy tower elites. He still holds on to the romanticism of the democratic political process.

Here is Tooleb praising India’s democracy while calling Saudia Arabia a ‘very fragile country’:

I know that Saudi Arabia is a very, very fragile country, probably the one that’s most fragile for a lot of reasons. They are more robust to oil revenue to Iran and other countries but not other things. They say oil is x percent of GDP, around 50% but the rest is also linked to oil. It is untenable. You see here in India you do not have governance problems, it is a democracy and that makes you a lot more robust than other countries, definitely more robust than China.

In waging class warfare, pitting the makers against the takers, Tooleb is no different than Bernie ‘wealth spreader’ Sanders.

Tooleb writes:

The IYI has been wrong, historically, on Stalinism, Maoism, GMOs, Iraq, Libya, Syria, lobotomies, urban planning, carbohydrates, gym machines, linear regression, Gaussianism, Salafism, housing projects, and p-values. But he is convinced that his current position is right.

But then he drags Pinker again through the mud as an ‘IYI’:

The IYI is member of a club to get traveling privileges; if social scientist he uses statistics without knowing how they are derived (like Steven Pinker and psycholophasters in general);

This continues in Tooleb’s tradition of attacking experts who are smarter than him (Pinker, Dawkins, etc.).

Tooleb is so blinded by his dislike of Pinker that he fails to see that Pinker, despite being an ‘IYI’, is actually very critical of communism, writing in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature that “…communism was a major force for violence for more than 100 years, because it was built into its ideology.”

As Pinker astutely points out, communism is violent because violence is required in order to achieve and enforce ‘equal outcomes’, in agreement with the blank slate worldview of humanity that mandates equal outcomes, as well as the nationalization of private property. But equality goes against human nature (rich, successful people, including even Hollywood liberals who vote democratic, don’t voluntarily want to forfeit the fruits of their labor to the state) and the ‘natural order’ (productive, intelligent economically rising above the less intelligent, unproductive), necessitating violence to get it.

Here is something else that’s pretty funny, from Nassim Taleb Talks Antifragile, Libertarianism, and Capitalism’s Genius for Failure, in which he says:

Taleb has called New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman “vile and harmful” and coined the phrase the “Stiglitz Syndrome” after Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, which refers to the phenomenon of public intellectuals being held utterly unaccountable for their bad predictions. Paul Krugman and Paul Samuelson are among Taleb’s other Nobel laureate bête noires.

Hmmm…speaking of unaccountably, why hasn’t Tooleb owned up to his own wrong 2009 predictions of hyperinflation?

Unlike last year’s sudden market implosion, inflation isn’t an unimaginable event that few currently anticipate. In fact, many fear inflation right now amid government efforts to goose the economy. Universa’s bet, however, is that inflation will reach levels few expect.

What a spert he is. I was one of the few bloggers who was correct about almost everything since 2011, correctly predicting a continuation of the bull market and low inflation.

If you raise this issue on Tooleb’s Twitter, or question any of his beliefs, he will block you.

Debunking Libertarian-Socialist Nonsense

It takes a concerted effort and a persistent willingness to suspend disbelief to be a life-long libertarian-socialist (and its closely-related Marxist variants). Most people outgrow it by their late 20′s upon learning that Marxism is far more violent, ruthless, and just all-around awful than the capitalism it is supposed to replace.

Libertarian-socialism is predicated on imagined oppression of workers by a so-called ‘capitalist elite’, and that workers should ‘free’ themselves from this oppression to control the production and spread the fruits of labor more equally. ‘Libertarian’ is not used in the American sense of the word, but refers to the lesser-known European definition. That’s pretty much the entire 3,000+ word Wikipedia summary, condensed into a few sentences. But anyway, libertarian-socialist arguments are easy to refute through simple common sense and empirical evidence.

Here is one such, easily refuted argument alleging ‘worker exploitation’:

This implies profit margins of over 900%! But then why are so many companies unprofitable, or why retail companies have profits margins between 3-5%? Or why the average S&P 500 company has profit margins between 10-20%. Public companies have to report their operations through public disclosures (forms 10-Q, 10-K), and there is no evidence any public companies are producing 900% profits…even the most profitable handful of public companies only have operating margins around 30-40%. If exploiting workers is so profitable, why were so many jobs lost in 2008? Why do so many companies fail every year and have to terminate all their employees? Hmmmm? When a company fails, employees always get paid first and the common shareholders, upon liquidation, last. Maybe workers have a better deal than commonly believed. The reality is, although a company may generate $200/hour in value from an employee it pays $20/hour, most of the remaining $180 goes back into the company to keep the entire operation running. If the operation fails, the employee loses his job and thus gets $0/hour. Some of that $180 goes into – gasp! – profit, but without profit there is no incentive to create or invest in businesses.

As I explain in Is Going to Work Really So Bad? Jobbers vs. Self-Actualizers in response to a similar argument by James Altucher, in giving up the $180/hour you gain access to the company’s resources: clients, infrastructure, network, and office. An entrepreneur has to provide all of those things himself, but all an employee has to do is show up and perform his assigned job. Entrepreneurship has a very high rate of failure, and most solo-endeavors make very little money (much less than minimum wage), an example being self-publishing, as I describe in Pencil Pushers and The Miracle of Capitalism. Most people, if left to their own devices to make money, would starve to death…which is what happened China and Russia during communism, if history serves me correct. And then there are the empty food shelves of Venezuela, another country that decided it was ‘too good’ for capitalism. With the workers liberated, they can enjoy their non-existent provisions and control of the means of the non-existent production.