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Nassim Taleb: "In the near future I see a threat more serious"pandemic
Material posted: Publication date: 18-05-2020
American philosopher, economist and trader Nassim Taleb, author of the worldwide bestseller "the Black Swan. Under the sign of unpredictability", believes that a pandemic will completely change a number of industries and have a significant impact on the growth of localism. Worldwide happen accelerated the transition to online education, and tourism as an industry is unlikely to survive the current crisis, said Taleb in an interview with Ilya Nosyrev from RBC. He believes that the pandemic will last long enough and coronavirus will bring many more surprises.

A few noteworthy points from the interview.

About healthy people's reactions to the quarantine

"During a pandemic, it is evident that people behave smarter than the government. For example, users of social networks now post photo from Sweden, where the government did not declare quarantine — these photos restaurants, chock-full of guests. But in reality these little restaurants: the number of visitors in this area fell by 90%. That is, even without the introduction of quarantine on top we see a very healthy reaction of people," says Nassim Taleb.

As a pandemic would change the world

"The epidemic will accelerate the transition to online education. Conventional universities will not need. Educational institutions due to this, significantly saving on buildings, logistics and so on. The same thing will happen with many companies. Thanks to the pandemic, many companies realized that the staff is quite impossible to work from home. This does not mean that offices will disappear completely, they just become smaller and people will not go there every day. This means that many will begin to move from the cities to the countryside. This is the first result which I see, — said Taleb. The second is that the industry is unlikely to be able to recover: hotels, tour Desk where you can book travel, have long lost their income, and pandemic killed them".

As the epidemic changes the way people

"She is already changing consumer habits — being in isolation, people stop buying a lot of junk. In this sense, it is rolled back to the old days. The crisis this trend will further strengthen. In addition, there is a tendency to localism... Now people understand that their quality of life affects not only the country but also the specific state or city. For example, the Governor of Ohio to cope with current tasks better than Donald trump. This is a reason to move to Ohio," — said Taleb.

How long will a pandemic

"I do not think the pandemic will last for years — and yet it persists long enough. In addition, it is necessary to understand that the lifting of the quarantine would not mean the end of the epidemic. While there is no clarity how it will develop further, and this is largely due to the fact that we do not understand how the virus works, says Nassim Taleb. — It can be much more contagious than than previously thought. We also don't know what the virus does to the immune system... I've read reports about people who after a stay in the hospital recovered, but now, for example, it is difficult to move because they lost about a third of lung function. Finally, the virus, it seems, affects the brain — some patients complain of loss of ability to smell, and some of them, it can remain for a lifetime. That is why the Central question for authorities now, as a responsible move in an environment full of uncertainty?

But to be honest, in the near future I see a threat more serious pandemic. This increase in resistance of bacteria that occurs due to widespread use of antibiotics... Over time it can become fatal for humanity."

What people expect from the state in crisis

"We need the state to ensure the main value — the safety of people. During a pandemic, the state should assume control of all measures that will achieve this goal. Another thing is that, for example, in the EU the state is activated for any reason and begins to "save" the economy with a speed vacuum cleaner. The problem is not that the state is not necessary, the problem is that it poorly performs its main tasks," said Taleb RBC.

Arina Petrova


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