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Global Economic Crisis Much Worse Now Than Two Years Ago, Warns Nassim Taleb

June 11th, 2010

In an interview with CNBC, the bestselling author of  “The Black Swan,” Nassim Taleb, described the current economic environment as being significantly deteriorated from 2008, when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. In his gloomy assessment of the global economic crisis, Taleb said, “We had less debt cumulatively (two years ago), and more people employed. Today, we have more risk in the system, and a smaller tax base.”

According to Nassim Taleb, the core economic and financial problem afflicting major economies is a saturation of debt, both public and private. The current Eurozone and UK debt crisis is a manifestation of the age of austerity that lies before us. The United States and UK share the debt crisis afflicting Eurozone economies, however policymakers are still addicted to deficits even in the current critical economic environment. Taleb warned that a debt crisis could not be countered by taking on even more debt, a policy response he compared with giving more alcoholic beverage to an alcoholic.

Nassim Taleb also pointed out that toxic assets on bank balance sheets were as severe a problem now as two years ago. While acknowledging that governments have used taxpayer money to take some toxic assets off bank balance sheets, he pointed out that further degradation of remaining bank assets due to deteriorating economic metrics meant that banks were as fragile today as they were in 2008.

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