Taleb on the IMF "Expert Problem" and How to Avoid Charlatans

Recently attending a conference in Korea, author of The Black Swan Nassim Nicholas Taleb, was enraged to be on a panel with an IMF deputy managing director. The reason? The presenter had the gall to show IMF projections beginning in 2010 and continuing all the way through until 2014. As Taleb put it, “I told the audience that the next time someone from the IMF shows you projections for some dates in the future, [ask] to show us what they PROJECTED for 2008 and 2009 in 2004, 2005, …, and 2007.”

Despite the preponderance of evidence the financial crisis has provided that economists offer “the scientific reliability of astrologers,” these experts are still taken seriously. This is the expert problem Taleb warns is to be avoided. For those people who will still choose to listen to “experts,” despite his words of advice he has this to say, “anyone relying on them is a turkey.”

See the full content in The Huffington Post’s entry on the IMF and increased dependence on faux-experts.