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Famous ‘Black Swan’ Author And Philosopher: American Universities Should Pay For Debt Forgiveness

Famous ‘Black Swan’ Author And Philosopher: American Universities Should Pay For Debt Forgiveness

debt forgiveness

Photo: Nassim Nicholas Taleb http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/pictures.htm https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taleb_mug.JPG

Universities, not taxpayers, should pay for student loan debt forgiveness, author Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in a tweet critical of liberal arts degrees.

Many have argued that President Joe Biden’s $10,000 college student loan debt cancellation will benefit Black students and help close the racial wealth gap as Black students hold a disproportionate amount of student loan debt. Others argue that $10,000 is too low to make a dent in the wealth gap.

The Black-white wage gap is getting worse, while Black communities’ indebtedness is increasing.

The author of “The Black Swan,” Taleb wrote on Twitter that the cost of the “student loan debt jubilee should be borne by universities, not taxpayers.”

Taleb criticized liberal arts degrees in particular, saying parents have been tricked.

“If a U.S. college degree appears to be useless, it is by design,” he tweeted. “For ‘liberal arts’= training for upper class free men (liber) who were above having a profession.”

Instead, Taleb praised vocational and professional schools. “You learn to earn $$ in vocational or professional schools,” he tweeted. “Middle class parents were tricked & fleeced.”


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A Lebanese-American author, mathematician and statistician, Taleb’s research mainly focuses on problems of uncertainty, probability, and randomness. He was an options trader before becoming a full-time writer, and has been a professor at several universities including New York University Tandon School of Engineering.

He has also practiced mathematical finance, been a hedge fund manager and derivatives trader, and has been listed as a scientific adviser at Universa Investments.

Taleb’s 2007 book, “The Black Swan,” was named one of the 12 most influential books since World War II. In it, he wrote about his black swan theory, a strategy he used during his 20-year career as a derivatives trader. He made money for various stakeholders including himself using the theory. He predicted the Great Recession and profited from it.

Taleb characterized U.S. liberal arts degrees as an elitist construct with roots going back to ancient times, quoting Paul Veyne, a French historian and archaeologist.

“The source of the American ‘liberal arts’ degree is the English upper classes imitation of the Ancient Meds who despised work & workers. As Jules Veyne said: ‘[in the Ancient World] you are free [liber] if your name don’t come w/a profession'”.

Taleb is not alone in thinking a university education is elitist.

“Since its beginnings, higher education has been reserved for the upper classes, leaving working class people with few options for economic advancement,” wrote Allia Luzong for A Little Bit Human. “Today, academia is elitist as ever and, even though a degree can still be the key to a better-paying job, the debt students take on and the years they lose to studying can all but erase the economic advantages the degree offers.”

Photo: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/pictures.htm
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taleb_mug.JPG