Monthly Archives: April 2016

Nassim shares an excerpt from his work-in-progess Skin in the Game, at Evonomics. In a fascinating article called How To Legally Own Another Person, he discusses how and why well-paid employees behave much like slaves. It begins:

In its early phase, as the church was starting to get established in Europe, there was a group of itinerant people called the gyrovagues. They were gyrating and roaming monks without any affiliation to any institution. Theirs was a free-lance (and ambulatory) variety of monasticism, and their order was sustainable as the members lived off begging and from the good graces of townsmen who took interest in them. It is a weak form of sustainability, as one can hardly call sustainable a group of a people with vows of celibacy: they cannot grow organically and would need continuous enrollment. But their members managed to survive thanks to help from the population, which provided them with food and temporary shelter.

Sometimes around the fifth century, they started disappearing –they are now extinct. The gyrovagues were unpopular with the church, banned by the council of Chalcedon in the Fifth Century, then again by the second council of Nicaea about three hundred years later. In the West, Saint Benedict of Nurcia, their greatest detractor, favored a more institutional brand of monasticism and ended up prevailing with his rules that codified the activity, with a hierarchy and strong supervision by an abbot. For instance, Benedict’s rulesiii, put together in a sort of instruction manual, stipulate that a monk’s possessions should be in the hands of the abbot (Rule 33) and Rule 70 bans angry monks from hitting other monks.

Why were they banned? They were, simply, totally free. They were financially free, and secure, not because of their means but because of their wants. Ironically by being beggars, they had the equivalent of f*** you money, the one can get more easily by being at the lowest rung than by being member of the income dependent class.

You can read the rest of the article at Evonomics.

Along with a long list of global thought leaders, Nassim will be speaking at this year’s SALT Conference at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on the weekend of May 10-13th:

The SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference is committed to facilitating balanced discussions and debates on macro-economic trends, geo-political events and alternative investment opportunities within the context of a dynamic global economy. With thought leaders, public policy officials, business professionals and investors from over 42 countries and 6 continents, the SALT Conference provides an unmatched opportunity for attendees from around the world to connect with global leaders and network with industry peers.

SALT is produced by SkyBridge SALT, LLC, an affiliate of SkyBridge Capital, a global investment firm with approximately $12.6 billion in assets under management or advisement as of January 31, 2016. Unique and forward looking, SkyBridge Capital is a pioneer in the alternative asset management industry leading an evolution in the fund of funds space. SkyBridge has redefined the fund of funds investment model by developing a thematic and tactical multi-strategy investment approach to consistently generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. The firm’s investment strategy is enhanced by their unparalleled access to industry decision makers and global financial leaders – including money managers, economists and policy makers– whose insights are integral to shaping our global outlook and opportunity sets. The firm is headquartered in New York and also has a presence in Zürich, Switzerland and Seoul, South Korea.