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Mitch Skiles

Owner/Contributor, LuxPerci.com

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Can we look at the past when looking for future solutions to modern problems?

I read a book called "The Black Swan" by Nassim Taleb which proposes the idea that the world is incredibly unpredictable. These "Black Swan" events control integral moments in the history of our species; whether that be a stock market crash or 9/11. In hindsight we may see a trend, but at any given moment the future of a new black swan event is impossible to predict. I am wondering that if this is the case, can we still look into the past to find solutions to problems. I did an analysis of Israel while looking for a solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict and found an interesting economic trend when compared to cooperation. (If you would like to read my study visit http://luxperci.com/solution-arab-israeli-conflict/ ) Is this a fair assumption?

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  • Aug 20 2012: To me Taleb was talking about probability, routines, and truly unexpected occurances. Some of the heroes in his books are the mathematician Mendelbrot and the physicist Ed Thorp. Plus, I may be throwing in material from his book fooled by radomness. This is a business prof MBA Wharton and PhD University of Paris. Last time I checked the intermet he teaches at NYU I believe. Remember this guy is like Joseph Conrad lot's of languages and what I've read was in English. Me only poor English. There may be some confusion in reading these outstanding books. It's like reading Keynes or Deming. He is widely quatred by several Nobel Prize winners in Economics- Not because they want to do so it's unavoidable. He is also a character in the book Quants. However, Doesn't The Tipping Point make you uncomfortable enough. Also, in 1841 Charles Mckay wrote a book called Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Maybe we don't want to know. Look at the AMerican Real estate Market. Waybe you are suggesting through this all together in some sort of phenomonology. Not a bad idea. Ed Thorpe and others have made alot of money doing what he feels uncomfortable about. So has he.
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      Aug 20 2012: Just in case anyone wants to follow up on your leads, George, I think the mathematician you want is named Mandelbrot. He is most celebrated for his work related to fractals and chaos theory, both of which involve working out processes (including predicting) in situations often combining something systematic and something random.

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