Dissecting The Black Swan


Abstract
What constitutes a Black Swan? And under what conditions may a Black Swan be expected to arise? As Nassim Taleb describes it, a Black Swan is an event that displays three key properties, the two most important of which are that: it is not even imagined as a possibility prior to its occurrence; and it is in some way significant in its impact. It follows that whether or not an event counts as a Black Swan depends on the subjective imaginings of contemporaneous observers and their criteria regarding what counts as a “significant impact.” Since there is nothing in determinism that precludes and, Black Swans may occur even in a perfectly deterministic world. Nevertheless, if the world is indeed characterised by randomness, free will, emergence, and the like, then it is arguably more likely to throw forth events that display the above‐mentioned properties. The same goes for various specific features of an increasingly interconnected global economy, which allowed Taleb to forecast what was, for most of us at least, the great Black Swan of 2008.
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DOI 10.1080/08913810903441427
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