May 10·edited May 11Author

As a sidenote, some might say "hey, haven't the last 15ish years taught us to be more conscious of black swans?". Many things were once broadly considered unlikely—eg. the collapse of WaMU and Bear Sterns, Trump's election, the Brexit vote, Putin's invasions of Ukraine, the superspread of COVID—and some might think the right takeaway is to adopt a sort of epistemic humility.

My counter would be there are two types of humility really. One is to never consider a case quite closed—to seek and genuinely consider good counterarguments, to self-investigate closely for biases and blindspots, to consider which sources of confidence might be misplaced, and so on. This is certainly good! But another is to, as the saying goes, predict twelve of the last two recessions; to be so open-minded towards "well, it could happen" that we excuse ourselves from exercising judgment at all. And this I think is net bad. I certainly wouldn't turn to that person for a sense of which things to be anxious or not anxious about, or what to bet on.

Unlikely things do happen. But we can model why they did, and understand why the incentives of those with power made them possible. And in this particular case there just is no plausible model that I'm aware of that would open the door for a default. That said, this is also why I have an open bounty for people who bring forward POVs I missed, too easily discounted, or never considered.

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May 11Liked by Jeremy Arnold

Excellent piece Jeremy

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The very very rich would benefit enormously from a full default. They would be able to purchase , land , businesses and homes on the cheap . They would be able to buy their government as they alone would have the liquidity to rule.

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