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'Black Swan' Shuns Public Life Because of Bernanke

Nassim Taleb, the author of "The Black Swan", said he would retreat from public life if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gains a second term at the helm of the central bank.

"What I am seeing and hearing on the news — the reappointment of Bernanke — is too hard for me to bear," Taleb wrote on his blog on The Huffington Post.

"I am not blaming Bernanke (he doesn't even know he doesn't understand how things work or that the tools he uses are not empirical); it is the Senators appointing him who are totally irresponsible — as if we promoted every doctor who committed malpractice," he wrote.

Taleb wrote he will not take part in interviews in the press and will not go to the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

"I need to withdraw as immediately as possible into the Platonic tranquility of my library, work on my next book, find solace in science and philosophy, and mull the next step," he wrote, adding that "I will only (briefly) emerge from my hiatus when the publishers force me to do so upon the publication of the paperback edition of The Black Swan."

Nassim Taleb
Photo by: YechezkelZilber
Nassim Taleb

Bernanke, whose term is running out at the end of January 2010, is due to testify Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee to win confirmation and faces tough questioning.

In August, Taleb, principal at Universa Investments, told CNBC that choking debt, continued high unemployment and a system that rewards bad behavior will hamstring an economic recovery.

At the time, Taleb said policymakers needed to begin converting debt into equity but instead are continuing the programs that created the financial crisis.

Taleb has earned a reputation as a market bear and sage following the publication of his 2007 book, "The Black Swan," that in part warned that banks were susceptible to failures beyond what models could predict — hence, a "black swan" type of rarity.

The collapse of the financial system happened shortly thereafter.

"The world has never, never been as fragile. Economics make homeopath and alternative healers look empirical and scientific," he wrote on his Huffington Post blog.

Contact Europe: Economy

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