The Black Swan: Crisis is "Vastly Worse" than the 1930's

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted May 7, 2009



Here’s the latest from the Black Swan himself.

According to Nassim Nichloas Taleb the fundamentals will likely trump the green shoots of late.

From Bloomberg by Shiyin Chen and Liza Lin entitled: Global Crisis ‘Vastly Worse’ Than 1930s, Taleb Says

The current global crisis is “vastly worse” than the 1930s because financial systems and economies worldwide have become more interdependent, “Black Swan” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb said.

“This is the most difficult period of humanity that we’re going through today because governments have no control,” Taleb, 49, told a conference in Singapore today. “Navigating the world is much harder than in the 1930s.”

The International Monetary Fund last month slashed its world economic growth forecasts and said the global recession will be deeper than previously predicted as financial markets take longer to stabilize. Nouriel Roubini, 51, the New York University professor who predicted the crisis, told Bloomberg News yesterday that analysts expecting the U.S. economy to rebound in the third and fourth quarter were “too optimistic.”

“Certainly the rate of economic contraction is slowing down from the freefall of the last two quarters,” Roubini said. “We are going to have negative growth to the end of the year and next year the recovery is going to be weak.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told lawmakers May 5 that the central bank expects U.S. economic activity “to bottom out, then to turn up later this year.” Another shock to the financial system would undercut that forecast, he added.

The global economy is facing “big deflation,” though the risks of inflation are also increasing as governments print more money, Taleb told the conference organized by Bank of America- Merrill Lynch. Gold and copper may “rally massively” as a result, he added.

Taleb, a professor of risk engineering at New York University and adviser to Santa Monica, California-based Universa Investments LP, said the current global slump is the worst since the Great Depression that followed Wall Street’s 1929 crash.

The world’s largest economy may need additional fiscal stimulus to emerge from its current recession, Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, told Bloomberg News yesterday.

“We’re going to get to the point where recovery is just not soaring and they’re going to do the same again,” he said. “We’re going to have a very slow recovery from here.”

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