neo-liberalism

Why So Little Self-Recrimination Among Economists?

Promoted. -- GH

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism picked up an excellent article by former economics columnist Jeff Madrick, who attended the just-concluded annual conference of the American Economics Association, How the Entire Economics Profession Failed. Madrick writes:

At the annual meeting of American Economists, most everyone refused to admit their failures to prepare or warn about the second worst crisis of the century.

I could find no shame in the halls of the San Francisco Hilton, the location at the annual meeting of American economists that just finished. Mainstream economists from major universities dominate the meetings, and some of them are the anointed cream of the crop, including former Clinton, Bush and even Reagan advisers.

There was no session on the schedule about how the vast majority of economists should deal with their failure to anticipate or even seriously warn about the possibility that the second worst economic crisis of the last hundred years was imminent.

“No one questioned their contribution to the current frightening state of affairs, no one humbled by events.”

I heard no calls to reform educational curricula because of a crisis so threatening and surprising that it undermines, at least if the academicians were honest, the key assumptions of the economic theory currently being taught.

There were no sessions about why the profession was not up in arms about the deregulation of so sensitive a sector as finance. They are quick to oppose anything that undermines free trade, by contrast, and have had substantial influence doing just that.

Yves Smith adds some excellent commentary in her piece, Why So Little Self-Recrimination Among Economists?, inclduing an insightful quote from Thomas Palley, in April 2008:

The Crash is past. Comes now Inflation.

-- originally posted 2008-03-02 20:23:36 -- bumped, cho

Seems to me a lot of people don’t realize the worst financial crash since 1929 has already occurred. I suppose they are waiting for a big explosive fireball and a lot of noise like in a Hollywood movie, or for the nightly news on their wide-screen televisions to show pictures of desperate bankers and brokers splattered on the sidewalks in front of 60-story temples of finance.

This diary is my humble little attempt to let these people know that the crash has already happened. It began in August. I guess they didn’t notice, but a number of financial markets have already collapsed. First, of course, there was the derivatives based on sub-prime mortgages. That seems to be about where the common consciousness stops. But before U.S. Secretary Treasury Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (a.k.a., Captain Carnage) even lifted a finger to try and sort out the sub-prime mortgage mess, they first had to deal with the collapse of the market for Structured Investment Vehicles. Since these two crises began last summer many other financial markets have also collapsed: corporate junk bonds, asset-backed commercial paper, municipal bonds. This last was saved just last week by New York State Insurance Commissioner Dinallo basically forcing Moodys, S&P and Fitch to give AAA ratings to the monolines insurers. All these markets have pretty much ceased functioning, with not even the banks that created some of this stuff willing to buy their own product. Financial institutions have also been disappearing, especially a number of hedge funds, the most recent being this past week: Peloton, a London-based hedge fund specializing in asset-backed bonds.

CommercialPaperCollapse

World on the Brink- Depression or Hyperinflation

In August 2007, an obscure bank in Germany disclosed that it had suffered crippling losses on some financial instruments it held, which were based on a pool of sub-prime mortgages in the United States. Within days, traders in financial markets around the world were panicking as they found it nearly impossible to determine which other banks might be having the same problem, and just how large that problem was. Central banks around the world poured in money to calm troubled financial markets, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson made a show of declaring that the problems of the U.S.