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March 30, 2009

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Comments

Ed Viguerie

Your points about Johnson's oversimplification of the narrative and the folly of looking to the IMF for solutions are well taken. But I don't read Johnson's article to put the blame for the current mess solely on the bankers. Johnson clearly describes several political and policy missteps that brought us to this point. The article does not merely seek to assess blame for the crises but to examine the difficulties of resolving the crises, of moving forward. If he focuses on the bankers it is because at this point they are an entrenched interest with the most to loose from a proper resolution to the crisis, which Simon believes to be nationalization. The policies of the last 40 years have created an enormously powerful industry that will not go down quietly. And they have an enormous amount of sway over the policy makers in D.C. Just look at the events of the last few days. The heads of the biggest banks in the country get a pleasant meet and greet with the president to discuss the problem. The head of GM, our largest auto maker, gets the ax.

Walras' executioner

I have been a long time fan of your writing and this blog, but I am sometimes mystified by the seemingly sectarian fights you pick with what I will dub "modern political economists". I say 'sectarian' because you made so many seminal contributions to understanding the political economy of policy reform.

Dani Rodrik writes: "they were aided in all this by the broader economics and policymaking community--not because the latter thought the policies in question were good for bankers, but because they thought these would be good for the economy."

Isn't THIS risking being "simple"? Do you believe the main reason we got a repeal of Glass-Steagall, and so many other changes to radically deregulate and relax supervision is because "policymakers" felt it was good for the country?

A far more compelling story is that a very powerful banking lobby spent hundreds of millions of dollars over many years to elect and then influence enough legislators to get the changes made; and that the revolving door relationship we have between financial industry and government, made it all that much easier. Why else were the banks spending all that money?

In nothing that I have read is Simon Johnson saying that he has simple technocratic solutions (I agree with you thought that little is said of the IMF's many problems in his tales). What he has written on looting and tunneling for instance suggests just how hard and messy it is to regain control over policy.

What I read him to be saying is that when economic policymaking is partly captured, and that those individuals that have earned massive economic rents at the helm of large financial institutions that are now insolvent will very rationally fight hard to hold onto their privileges and loot the treasury if necessary to do so. Why wouldn't they?

Finally he is saying that any lasting meaningful reform that gets us out of this crisis, that doesn't just socialized bankers losses, and that helps to make sure we don't repeat this all again any time soon MUST start (or at least end) with an effort limit the power of these economic elites to exert so much political influence (and systemic risk) again.

Your alternative seems to be to share the blame with economists and policymakers and their blind belief in models of one sort or another. But where do they come from? Models of the sort that are taught in the business schools or simplified by CNBC anchors are not chosen randomly out of an urn. Business schools are in the business of selling ideas -- and guess who has been paying?

Sure there is blame to go around, but it's hard to think of an explanation that does not put bankers and their influence square in the middle of this one.
More importantly, it's hard to see how to put in place better policies (and hence put better models to work) without confronting the economic and political power of this sector. Do you?

robertdfeinman

There has been a deliberate effort by the "vast rightwing conspiracy" to influence public policy and promote the ideas of libertarianism and the free market.

The (mostly hidden) players in this effort are known: Scaife, the Koch brothers, Olin, Ahmanson, etc. This group is behind the well-funded conservative think tanks: Hoover, Hudson, Cato, Manhattan Institute and the rest. They have also supported the economics departments at U Chicago and George Mason.

I refer you to the useful web sites run by Source Watch and Media Transparency for details.

Here's an example for Charles Koch:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Koch_Family_Foundations

So politicians didn't just come by these positions naturally. They were selected to run because of their predilictions or the ability to tutor them in the dogma.

Here's another link to show how this operated as concerns the battle over the estate tax.

http://www.citizen.org/documents/EstateTaxFinal.pdf

livingston

This is what I wrote in the comment section of Baseline Scenario. You are making the same point. Simon and James Kwak are good and logical writers but are looking for easy targets than root causes. Whoever suggests that IMF and technocrats are the solution ought to go talk to people in Indonesia and ask them how did relying on their advice work out for them. "For obvious reason, some commentators have hijacked the process of analyzing the root cause of the current crisis to get to their pet peeve. The crisis, first and foremost, was the result of monumentally wrong policy judgements — using US consumption and the consequent debt growth to ward off the negative wealth effect of the busting of an equity bubble — compounded by blind mercantilist policies of Asia’s net exporters — unprecendented reserve building after the Asian crisis (and following the IMF advice a bit too closely, in fact). Clearly, growth of the financial sector and bankers’ pay was the consequence of these bad judgements on the part of policy makers and foreign politicians, rather than the root cause of all evil in the world. In the current political environment, if you repeat the base assertion frequently enough — as you and others have been doing — it will of course stick. But that does not make it the correct root cause analysis. Banks and bankers are easy targets right now but focusing on them exclusively will not fix the global order — doing something about reducing consumption and increasing savings in the US (perhaps not in the near term but definitely in the medium to long term) and increasing consumption and reducing currency subsidised exports in the developing world will go a long away. You should be focusing on those issues rather than take easy shots at banks and bankers. That’s like trying to solve the drug problem by arresting the street drug peddlers."

Friedrich von Blowhard

Dear Mr. Livingston:

You say, "Clearly, growth of the financial sector and bankers’ pay was the consequence of these bad judgements on the part of policy makers and foreign politicians, rather than the root cause of all evil in the world."

May I ask for one example in which the financial services industry, the largest donator to presidential and congressional campaigns and the industry with the largest lobbying expenses, ever opposed the bad judgments on the part of the policy makers and foreign politicians? Clearly, they had power; I'd like a single example of them using it for good instead of evil.

I'm not, BTW, absolving the politicians, only asking why you are using the politicians to whitewash the financiers. Or are you really, honestly suggesting that people on Wall Street didn't understand (1) what "to big to fail" meant, and (2) how to profit from that status? Maybe I'm a cynic but I'm find too many examples of Wall Street doing exactly that. Your analysis suggests that the politicians are adults and thus morally culpable, while people on Wall Street are children, in the sense of being pre-moral. If true, something we should think about before allowing them to fund the political process, no?

B9

Not the technocracy to rule, but the rule of law.

Dani Rodrik

Dear Executioner --

Thanks for your thoughtful comments (and the kind words about my own research).

The conundrum in which the practitioners of "modern political economy" find themselves is the following: either you say that policy is determined by the interests of the politically powerful (here, banks), in which case you are left with no way out (banks will remain powerful and veto any meaningful reform). Or, you accept some autonomous role for the intellectuals and policy makers to make a difference, in which case, you can hardly attribute all the blame for the mess on the special interests.

Failure to account for the fact that both forces are at play simultaneously results in the kind of attitudes I was objecting to: holier-than-thou moralism about the insidious effect of the banks (as if economists weren't equally complicit); preference for technocratic solutions (as if the IMF wasn't equally under the influence of Wall Street and the U.S. Treasury); and over-confidence on the technocratic policy recommendations of the moment (as if we had not been equally confident on the previous set of policies that brought us here).

Walter

Ignoring the portioning of blame, I thought the most poignant point (which Simon Johnson certainly isn't the first or only one to raise) but which I've yet to see addressed on the path we are currently on, was summed up in one simple sentence:

"Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist."

Whoever you choose to blame, and whatever your beliefs on who wields power in these situations, can we allow businesses to grow to the point where their failure would devastate our entire economy?

michelle color me shocked

If the IMF is the answer, it must have been a pretty stupid question.

Walras' executioner

Dear Dani (if I may call you that),

Thanks for your thoughtful reply which helps explain your position much better.

It seems however that you are lumping "modern political economists" in together with an older and cruder camp of material determinists who, as you suggest, saw little or no possibility for 'autonomous' policy decisions to take their countries 'out of the periphery' or out of the clutches of 'bad elites'.
But my take-home lesson from the modern political economy literature -- and again this is very much influenced by reading *your* seminal works in the early 1990s on the political economy of adjustment and reforms -- is that the policies that prevail are the outcome of political contests that are conditioned on the balance of power between different interest groups, but that cannot be always perfectly predicted (except perhaps probabilistically). .
What I have also learnt from you is that autonomous policymaking plus good policy choices was necessary for success outcomes in several places, with Asian NICs being the most frequently cited. That's an important and hopeful lesson.
But embedded in this very definition of "autonomy" (pardon the intentional pun) is how much room for maneuver these governments have been able to create by insulating themselves from the strong organized attempts by economic elites to impose their prefered policies. So the real question is what determines the space for 'autonomous' decision making.
The concern that I think many of us have is that the room for autonomous policymaking in the USA has been reduced in recent years because of the rising influence of a powerful financial sector and it's political allies.
Sure I blame Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan and other policymakers for failing in the 90s and later to regulate or provide proper oversight of fast growing derivative markets that proved capable of massive destruction to the economy and the innocent. Those people do deserve blame.
But had those particular people not been there it seems very likely that other people of very similar persuasion, acceptable to the 'business community,' would have been hired instead. The politicians who appointed them would make the same political calculation that challenging the very powerful banking lobby (and its generous political contributions) did not make sense. From reading Summers own writing it is not evident that he would have always chosen not to regulate. Hence I suspect his decision was at least in part political, and not just ideological.

In summary the power of the banking industry seems a deeper structural problem that helps understand the policy choices. More so than blame we might assign to particular economists, although it is possible to imagine a more courageous politician or policymaker who might have made a difference.
In the present political battle over policymaking as citizens and as taxpayers we should get behind people like Simon Johnson who are at this time the ones most loudly and clearly saying that whatever new financial system is to emerge, it should beone where there are no more banks politically or economically too big to fail.

And just because that might sound like a morality tale, doesn't mean they are not scheming to put in the fix.

p.s. -- on what we can certainly agree, and it is unfortunate that Johnson's tale suggested otherwise, is that the IMF has generally not been the good or the enlightened guy. I suspect (and hope) that he used that mainly as a literary device ("just look at how much the US is like a banana republic").

tathagat banerjee

You know its a sign of the times when dani rodrik, an economist in the honored ( i like 'em) tradition of hirschmann and jeff sachs has been upstaged on his own blog by an ex economist of the imf (were they not the bad guys who championed the Washington consensus?).

we are all doomed i tell you, doomed!!!

raivo pommer

raivo pommer-eesti.www,google,ee
[email protected]

GM

Hinter der im eleganten Ensemble aus Hose und Gehrock gekleideten Bundeskanzlerin sammeln sich etliche Anzugsträger, vorneweg der Opel-Vorstandsvorsitzende Hans Demant und der Chef von General Motors Europe, Carl-Peter Forster. Auch der Gesamtbetriebsratsvorsitzende Klaus Franz, den viele die eigentliche Stimme von Opel nennen, ist mit dabei. Bescheiden im Hintergrund hält sich der hessische Ministerpräsident Roland Koch (CDU), der als Verstärkung Verteidigungsminister Franz-Josef Jung mitgebracht hat, der in Rüsselsheim als CDU-Bundestagskandidat antritt.

Nach ein paar kurzen Fragen Angela Merkels an die beiden freundlich-verlegen lächelnden Opel-Arbeiter gibt es noch ein Gruppenbild mit Werktätigen. Dann schiebt sich die Delegation in den abgeschirmten Showroom des Entwicklungszentrums, wo der Kanzlerin die noch geheimen Modelle des neuen Opel „Astra“ und „Meriva“ präsentiert werden, mit dem die Geschäftsführung die Zukunfts- und Wettbewerbsfähigkeit des Unternehmens demonstrieren will. Nach dem Auslaufen „Abwrackprämie“ sollen die neuen Modelle zusammen mit dem Insignia den Fortbestand als einer mit GM nur noch lose verbundenen europäischen Marke sichern.

Anderson

"not because the latter thought the policies in question were good for bankers, but because they thought these would be good for the economy."

And who was telling the politicians what was good for the economy?

I don't think that Johnson's point about the permeation of government by the financial sector can be dismissed so easily.

raivo pommer-eesti-www.google.ee.

raivo pommer-www.google.ee
[email protected]

UBS BANK

Falls ein Kunde ein persönliches Gespräch wünscht, muss er in die Schweiz reisen. «Im grenzüberschreitenden Vermögensverwaltungsgeschäft sind Geschäftsreisen von Mitarbeitenden mit Kundenkontakt eingestellt», bestätigte UBS- Sprecherin Eveline Müller einen Bericht des «SonntagsBlick».

Die UBS führe eine umfassende Überprüfung der Richtlinien und Verhaltensregeln im Zusammenhang mit dem internationalen Vermögensverwaltungsgeschäft durch. Das könne Monate dauern. So lange bleibe der Reisestopp in Kraft.

Durch eine Untersuchung der Finma ausgelöst

Die Überprüfung sei durch eine Untersuchung der Finanzmarktaufsicht (Finma) ausgelöst worden. Die Finma habe die Bank angewiesen, «Rechts- und Reputationsrisiken» im Auge zu behalten. Die Massnahme werde die Zusammenarbeit mit den Kunden erschweren, teilte die UBS weiter mit.

Im April 2008 war der UBS-Topmanager Martin Liechti während einer Geschäftsreise im Flughafen von Miami festgenommen worden. Der damalige Chef des UBS-Vermögensverwaltungsgeschäfts in den USA durfte wegen der Steueraffäre der Grossbank das Land mehrere Monate nicht verlassen.

eee_eff

"The conundrum in which the practitioners of "modern political economy" find themselves is the following: either you say that policy is determined by the interests of the politically powerful (here, banks), in which case you are left with no way out (banks will remain powerful and veto any meaningful reform). Or, you accept some autonomous role for the intellectuals and policy makers to make a difference, in which case, you can hardly attribute all the blame for the mess on the special interests. "

Not necessarily, Dani. you can believe that ordinarily the politically connected banks make policy, until they screw up badly enough that their Ponzi scheme is discovered by enough people to make the possibility of their losing power very real. That doesn't mean the action of removing them from power is the solution, just that it is necessary, because of fundamental ergonomic limitations--simply said, some one's heads will have to roll. And roll they will.

The question is: can this reality be leveraged to actually create a solution to the mess that exists, and be more than just entertainment.

raivo pommer

raivo pommer-www.google.ee
[email protected]

EIN PAAR EURO FÜRS PAPIER

Außerdem gibt es mittlerweile Neuigkeiten über die Lehman-Konkursmasse. Laut der ersten Gläubigerversammlung der Lehman Brothers Holding vom 29. Januar verfügt Lehman über Vermögenspositionen von knapp 120 Milliarden Dollar. Die Bank ist damit nicht arm, und es ist nicht auszuschließen, dass es zu Rückflüssen an deutsche Anleger kommt, die über den angebotenen zwei Prozent liegen. In US-Kreisen heißt es, aktuell würden gar Entschädigungsquoten von 15 bis 20 Prozent diskutiert. "Andria Capital hätte diese aktuellen Informationen ihrem Kaufangebot auch beifügen müssen", kritisiert Peter Mattil, Rechtsanwalt aus München. Das gehöre sich so. "Stattdessen bezieht sich die Gesellschaft auf die alte Information vom 8.Oktober", kritisiert Mattil.

Andria Capital schreibt in dem Angebot, man wolle bis zu nominal 50 Millionen Euro an Lehman-Papieren erwerben. Bezogen auf die zwei Prozent, die Andria bezahlen will, investiert die Firma insgesamt eine Million Euro. Vorstandschef von Andria ist laut Handelsregister der 30-jährige Marcus Deetz. Er ist seit 2006 auch Stipendiat am Lehrstuhl für Finanzwirtschaft an der Universität Bremen. Deetz möchte seine Tätigkeit bei Andria auf Nachfrage nicht kommentieren; auch nicht, ob er für sich selbst oder im Auftrag anderer handelt.

raivo pommer-www.google.ee

raivo pommer-www.google.ee
[email protected]

DOWN WITH CAPITALISM


Die Isländer jagen ihre Regierung fort, die Franzosen nehmen Manager in Geiselhaft. Briten hauen in London auf den Putz. Und die Deutschen? Sie delegieren die eher kleineren Demonstrationen auf das klassische Protestpersonal aus Ökos, Antiglobalisten und Gewerkschaftern. Außerdem kaufen sie 1,2 Millionen subventionierte Autos. Das sieht aus wie eine ziemlich coole Art, mit der größten globalen Wirtschaftskrise seit 70 Jahren umzugehen. Aber wirkliche Coolness ist es nicht.

Denn eines steht außer Zweifel: Die Wut über die Bombenkrater des Finanzkapitalismus ist greifbar, groß und gerecht. Sie wird geteilt von den meisten gesellschaftlichen Gruppen und findet Widerhall im gesamten politischen Spektrum. Inzwischen. Deshalb klingen die Appelle der IG Metall, in denen grenzenlose Profitgier gegeißelt wird, nicht mehr anders als die Beiträge eines Volksbankenfunktionärs, der bei Maybrit Illner dem Gewinnstreben abschwört. Die CSU kommt inzwischen mit ihren Anti-Manager-Tiraden daher wie Attac im Trachtenanzug und gewinnt damit Popularität. Sonst würde sie ja nicht so reden.

raivo pommer.

raivo pommer-www.google.ee
[email protected]

COMMERZBANK in Jahre 2009

Die Regierung sei sich einig, „dass wir ganz sicher mit der EU-Kommission so schnell wie möglich eine Lösung finden werden, die zugänglich und zuträglich für die Zukunft der Commerzbank ist“, sagte der Sprecher des Bundesfinanzministeriums, Torsten Albig, am Montag in Berlin.

Der Bund half der Commerzbank Ende 2008 mit rund 8 Milliarden Euro und im Januar mit zehn Milliarden Euro, um die Übernahme der Dresdner Bank sowie weitere Belastungen abzusichern. Im Gegenzug wurde eine Staatsbeteiligung von 25 Prozent plus eine Aktie vereinbart.

Die europäischen Wettbewerbshüter prüfen die staatliche Hilfe, obwohl sie den deutschen Banken-Rettungsplan bereits gebilligt hatten. Nach früherer Einschätzung aus der EU-Kommission müssen die Staatshilfen für die Commerzbank "im Prinzip" nicht in Brüssel überprüft werden.
Vertrauensbildung ist "Schall und Rauch"

Am Wochenende hatte sich an den staatlichen Finanzspritzen für die Commerzbank ein offener Streit zwischen der Bundesregierung und der EU-Kommission entzündet. Im Kern wirft Berlin Brüssel vor, dass man einerseits zwar in der aktuellen Finanzkrise die Geldinstitute vor dem Kollaps bewahren will, sich andererseits aber bei der Prüfung von Hilfen im Einzelfall so viel Zeit lasse, dass das betroffene Institut am Ende doch in Gefahr gerät.

Die in der Öffentlichkeit "fast inflationär bemühte Kategorie der Vertrauensbildung" stelle sich damit "letztlich als Schall und Rauch heraus", rügte Bundesfinanzminister Peer Steinbrück am Samstag nach zweitägigen Beratungen der EU-Ressortchefs in Prag.

raivo pommer-www.google.ee

raivo pommer-www.google.ee
[email protected]

FRISCHES GELD

Die in finanzielle Bedrängnis geratene Schaeffler-Gruppe hat nach eigenen Angaben mit ihren Banken einen Kreditvertrag über eine Milliarde Euro geschlossen.
Grossbild

Die hoch verschuldete Schaeffler Gruppe hat mit ihren Banken einen Kreditvertrag über eine Milliarde Euro geschlossen. "Damit sichern wir weiteren Handlungsspielraum", teilte Klaus Rosenfeld, Finanzvorstand der Schaeffler Gruppe, in Herzogenaurach mit. Über die Details des Kreditvertrages sei Stillschweigen vereinbart worden.

Schaeffler hatte sich für die Übernahme des börsennotierten Wettbewerbers Continental in Milliarden-Schulden gestürzt und konnte zuletzt die monatlich auflaufenden Zinsen von 70 Millionen Euro nur noch schwer stemmen. Erschwerend kam hinzu, dass Conti seinerseits auf einem Schuldenberg sitzt.

raivo pommer-eesti.www.google.ee.

raivo pommer-www.google.ee
[email protected]

EURO KRISIS

Der Kurs des Euro EURUS.FX1 hat sich am Mittwoch im Nachmittagshandel stabilisiert. Zuletzt wurden für die Gemeinschaftswährung 1,3242 US-Dollar gezahlt, nachdem der Euro im frühen Handel noch bis auf 1,3145 Dollar gefallen war. Die Europäische Zentralbank (EZB) hatte den Referenzkurs am Mittag auf 1,3231 (Dienstag: 1,3255) Dollar festgesetzt. Der Dollar kostete damit 0,7558 (0,7544) Euro.

Zunächst hatten schwächelnde Aktienmärkte den Euro belastet. "Als die Aktienkurse im Zuge der Bekanntgabe der ersten Ergebnisse für das erste Quartal 2009 ins Trudeln gerieten, nahm die Risikoaversion zu und schon ging es für den Euro abwärts", erklärten die Experten der HSH Nordbank die Kursentwicklung. "Möglicherweise hält das Protokoll der letzten Sitzung des geldpolitischen Ausschusses der US-Notenbank Fed noch etwas Neues bereit", so die HSH Nordbank und hofft auf eine Begründung für den Ankauf von 300 Milliarden Dollar an Staatsanleihen. Die Auswirkungen auf den Devisenmarkt sollten sich den Experten zufolge allerdings in Grenzen halten.

Devisenexperte Klaus Gölitz von M.M. Warburg verwies ebenfalls auf die Aktienmärkte als Impulsgeber. "Derzeit ist Euro/Dollar ein Spiegelbild des DAX und des Futures auf den Dow Jones . Mit der Erholung der Aktienmärkte ging es auch für den Euro wieder etwas nach oben", sagte Gölitz. Insgesamt sei die Grundstimmung aber relativ ruhig. Die Positionen auf dem Devisenmarkt seien seit dem G20-Gipfel relativ ausgewogen und die Volatilität sei vor dem langen Osterwochenende deutlich zurückgekommen.

wjd123

We have to have an uprising over AIG bonuses before anything is done. Hedge fund managers are still having their income taxed at capital gains rates. The Tresuary Secretary is about to give these managers a sweet heart deal to bid on toxic assets with tax payer loans that needn't be repayed. Reform of the bankrupcy laws which would give home owners some leverage over the banks is gonng nowhere in congress.

The idea that these things are good for the economy has long ago been swept aside, yet the interests of the financial community allow them to persist, to have their way with congress.

raivo pommer-eesti.


raivo pommer-www.google.ee
[email protected]


Japan 150 Milliard

Der japanische Ministerpräsident Taro Aso hat heute ein neues Konjunkturpaket im Umfang von 150 Milliarden Dollar vorgestellt.


In der Landeswährung sind das 15 Billionen Yen, in Franken 174 Milliarden. Zwei frühere Konjunkturpakete hatten einen Umfang von zusammen 12 Billionen Yen. Finanziert werden sollen die staatlichen Stützungsmassnahmen mit der Ausgabe neuer Anleihen.

Es gehe darum, den Lebensstandard der Bevölkerung zu sichern und weiteres Wachstum zu unterstützen, sagte Aso in einer Fernsehansprache. Die neuen Ausgaben haben ein Volumen von etwa drei Prozent des Bruttoinlandsprodukts. Die japanische Staatsverschuldung beträgt zurzeit 170 Prozent des Bruttoinlandsprodukts und ist damit so hoch wie in keinem anderen Industriestaat.

raivo pommer-eesti.

raivo pommer-www.google.ee
[email protected]

BANK SARASIN IN SCHWEIZ

Ursprünglich hatte die Bank Sarasin vor, ihre vermögenden Berner Kunden ab diesem Monat in den neuen Räumlichkeiten am Waisenhausplatz 10 zu empfangen. Doch daraus wird nichts. Die Bauarbeiten am neuen Standort sind immer noch in vollem Gang. «Aufgrund des Umbaus unserer Räumlichkeiten kommt es zu einer kleinen Verzögerung», bestätigt Benedikt Gratzl, Sprecher der Bank Sarasin, auf Anfrage. Das Baubewilligungsverfahren habe sich länger hingezogen als geplant, weil es sich beim Bauobjekt um ein denkmalgeschütztes Gebäude handle. Die Eröffnung der Berner Sarasin-Filiale ist nun auf Juni angesetzt.

Auch die Schweizer Tochtergesellschaft der italienischen Banca Popolare di Sondrio (BPS) will in Bern eine Niederlassung eröffnen. Anfang Februar hatte die BPS (Suisse) entsprechende Gerüchte bestätigt. Zum Eröffnungsdatum der Berner Filiale will man sich am Hauptsitz aber weiterhin nicht äussern. «Wir sind auf der Suche nach Lokalitäten und werden zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt informieren», heisst es aus Lugano.

Patrick C

Perhaps, it isn't that all economists need more humility.

I suspect your words of wisdom only apply to the economists whose hubris lead them to conclusions that were breathtakingly flawed.

Economists are always talking about incentives. I think we'd make better incentives if we didn't make blanket statements that end up ascribing blame to smart economists who had been pointing out the very issues that are causing us trouble today.

Instead we should heap praise upon the Nouri Roubini's amongst us. Reward them for getting it right, and let them try their policies out.

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I think we'd make better incentives if we didn't make blanket statements .

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