Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Blogosphere and the Crisis

Obama recently released his list of economic transition advisors and it's a real disappointment. Everybody is extremely middle-of-the-road mainstream. There are few who recognized the housing bubble before it popped and none who protested Greenspan's ultra-loose money policy which helped set it up. Many are from banking or the Clinton adminstration and involved in the regulatory changes that helped set it up.

So, while it's a group of competent workmanlike team members, it lacks anybody with the foresight to see the current crisis in advance. The puzzlement is that there's a large group out in the blogosphere which was far ahead of the curve in foreseeing this crisis. The star of course is Nouriel Roubini, whose far-out 12-step collapse process, ridiculed when it came out, has been pretty spot-on as a set of predictions. But almost any of the big economic blogs - check out Calculated Risk's links - has been ahead of the curve on this. So why is this large reserve of foresight, including academic heavyweights like Roubini and Krugman, unrepresented on Obama's transition team?

I am leaning to the idea that at this point being right isn't going to be enough. A lot of the more intellectual types (which would include me) tend to think that if you're publically right people will eventually start listening to you and implementing your ideas. But the current situation is about as much of a push for the "no more bubbles" policies advocated in the blogosphere as you could have asked for, and we're not seeing a thing. So it seems we need to connect with some kind of political movement as well. I'm not really sure how, because the "reality-based" blogosphere ideas seem to cut across party lines, based on the fight against the TARP. But I think it's something to start working for.

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