Nassim Taleb and Nouriel Roubini are trying something on Facebook.  With a self-styled “J’accuse,” they seek your friendship to support a campaign to get the bailout bankers to repay their bonuses.  Although I normally apply the Groucho Marx heuristic when it comes to joining clubs, I’ve signed up to this one.  They want it to go viral, so you can go here to join in the fun.

I’d be even happier if there were a Facebook group to pay bonuses to some of us untenured economic dissidents.  The Telecaster fund has not been the viral success  I’d hoped; this social media does not necessarily work as promised.  ;-)

The two horsemen’s main targets are  people like former US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who they say:-

…received over $100 million serving as chairman of New York-based Citigroup Inc.’s executive committee, [and] need to be punished for their failure to understand the risks their institutions were taking.”

I’m reading a new book called Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations by Rao Hayagreeva, Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business ( US edition here).   Professor Hayagreeva describes a market rebellion needing two things to be successful: a hot cause and cool mobilization.  The cause here is hot, but I’m not sure if the mobilization is so cool yet.  Twitter seems to be where all the action is this week, not Facebook; that is, since Stephen Fry introduced the wider world to it on Jonathan Ross’ comeback show.

Now if @stephenfry were to Tweet his support, that would be cool mobilization. He has 100,000 followers and rising.  I wonder if someone ought to tell him about this?

Nouriel Roubini himself has been Twittering here for the past 10 days.  Does that mean Twitter itself is now dooooomed?

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2 Responses to “apocalyptic horsemen add friends”  

  1. 1 Ken Smith

    Taleb and Roubini I think speak above the head of most people (myself included). Here, however what they are saying is simply rewarding failure has adverse (perverse?) consequences. Don’t reward the guys who broke the financial system. I wonder if the study of broken things requires full account of what broke what? Did the regulatory structure that did not prevent this carnage get broken, or did the banking structure which profits from uncertainty break from overstress, and does the underlying problem of stressing the system as part of delivering profits explain why no laws were broken? They all lent money and securitzed the risk until the illusion of risk free profits came undone.
    Was securitization the fix that broke banking?

  2. 2 knackeredhack


    I’m sure that securitization is fundamentally a good thing and that it is the governance and risk management cultures that went wrong. I’m reading Shiller’s new book Animal Spirits, which has a lot to say about how collective judgement went awry.


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