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Save the world or start a business?

When young people want to help mankind and ask Taleb what they should do, he suggests:

1. Never engage in virtue-signaling (debasing of virtue by using it as a marketing strategy for "save the world"-style messages such as eliminate poverty; virtue devoid of personal courage and personal sacrifice is never virtue)

2. Never engage in rent-seeking (trying to use protective regulations to derive income without adding anything to economic activity, without increasing the wealth of others)

3. Start a business (put yourself on the line ... take risk. If you get rich, spend your money generously on others)

The entire idea is to move us away from the macro, away from abstract universal aims, away from the kind of social engineering that brings tail risks to society. Institutions like the aid industry may help, but they are equally likely to harm.

Doing business will always help. Because it brings about economic activity without large scale risky changes in the economy.


* Slightly paraphrased from Taleb's just published book "Skin in the Game." Important to know that Taleb was a risk-taker for 20 years before he became a researcher.




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