Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the best-selling book "The Black Swan," said he's more concerned about prospects for the U.S. than Europe because the country lacks awareness of its fiscal woes.

"The difference between Europe and the U.S. is the consciousness of the problem," Taleb, a New York University professor, said today at a news conference in Tokyo organized by Bank of America Corp. "There's no consciousness in the U.S." about the fiscal deficit, he said.


Jacques Attali, a former European banking official, told reporters at the same briefing that the U.S. is in a worse state than Europe because of factors including political paralysis over its debt burden as well as unemployment.

"I'm quite pessimistic about the future of the U.S. economy for quite a long time," said Attali, who advised French President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s and later became the first head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. "The U.S. economy is in very, very bad situation."

The euro is likely to avoid collapse and the trouble in the region will help to speed up action by governments, said Attali, who is now president of Planet Finance, an organization that seeks to fight poverty through microfinance.

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