Politicians Scorn Professors

My preceding blogpost, the Hour of the Technocrats, was inspired by the recent accession of Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos, both professional economists, to the prime ministerships of Italy and Greece, respectively.   Today we turn to the U.S., where the political process seldom views academic credentials benevolently. In the United States, Senator Richard Shelby scorned […]

The Hour of the Technocrats

The Hour of the Technocrats has arrived.   In desperation from debt crises that their gridlocked political systems have created, Italy and Greece both in November chose new Prime Ministers who are technocratic economists rather than politicians:   Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos, respectively.  One can even describe them as professors:  Monti has been president of the […]

The Easy Question in Financial Regulation

Many questions in the field of financial regulation are hard to answer:    Would the separation of commercial banking and investment banking help prevent crises?   To what extent should individual consumers be protected against foolishly borrowing too much?  Should Credit Default Swaps be regulated out of existence?    What should regulators do about patterns of high executive […]

The 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis: Lessons for Country Vulnerability

After the currency crises of 1994-2001, and especially the East Asia crises of 1997-98, a lot of research investigated what countries could do to protect themselves against a future repeat.  More importantly, policy makers in emerging markets took some serious measures.  Some countries abandoned exchange rate targets and began to float.   Many accumulated high levels […]

High Noon: The Outcome to the Debt Ceiling Standoff

After a month of high drama the Senate at high noon yesterday voted to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling.    How to evaluate this outcome?    If I must give a one-word verdict, it would be “good.”   If I can expand to two words, it would be “not good.”   If I can elaborate to […]

The Federal Government Races to the Cliff

In the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean and a teenage rival race two cars to the edge of a cliff in a game of chicken.  Both intend to jump out at the last moment.  But the other guy miscalculates, and goes over the cliff with the car. This is the game that […]

Can Food Prices Be Stabilized?

Under French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s leadership, the G-20 has made addressing food-price volatility a top priority this year, with member states’ agriculture ministers meeting recently in Paris to come up with solutions. Small wonder: world food prices reached a record high earlier in the year, recalling a similar price spike in 2008. Consumers are hurting […]

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