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National Review has an interview talk between Nassim Taleb and Mark Spitznagel, largely on Piketty's book. For me, it's a messy stuff, with many up things down, etc. Here are a couple of puzzling bits:
Taleb: ... one can argue that the system should ensure downward mobility, something much more important than upward one. The statist French system has no downward mobility for the elite. In natural settings, the rich are more fragile than the middle class and we need the system to maintain it ...

Spitznagel: ... what's hidden beneath all the aggregate income-inequality data is much cross-sectional downward mobility, in that most people in the right tail of income spend very little time there. The transience of success is assured by natural entrepreneurial capitalism, and is precisely what works about it: unseating the top, driving out the lucky and unworthy. Without this dynamic, capitalism doesn't work. It isn't even capitalism, but rather oligarchic central planning. Yet modern government chips away at this dynamic in so many ways, most significantly by providing floors and safety nets to crony bankers and other financial punters. What irony that the same people who today loudly endorse a global wealth tax to rein in inequality were also the very ones saying guys like us were nuts for opposing the bailouts back in 2008!

What a BS the last statement! The 2008 administration and analysts must had been so long ago.

Piketty data shows that the post-WWII Keynesian decades were most transient for the top - while the natural r>g tendency bites towards greater inequality.   

... we pursue a small present good which will be followed by a great evil to come, rather than a great good to come at the risk of a small present evil. The latter is what I call roundaboutness, which is central to strategic decision making, especially investing. It is about counter-intuitively heading right in order to better go left, or taking small losses now -- and willingly looking like an idiot -- to build a strategic advantage for later.

[...] We have roundaboutness to thank for civilization itself ...

The most roundabout times were the same post-WWII decades. Now even airlines dream about minimum roundaboutness.

This is then related to Taleb's "skin in the game" idea. It seems to me, currently capital owners and top CEOs are entitled to maximum anti-roundabout profits with minimum exposure of their skin to the game. You need a government for that indeed - but not "people's government for the people".

Then they two address Piketty directly - but that is not worth my time.

by das monde on Mon Jun 2nd, 2014 at 08:27:43 AM EST

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