Daily Office:


Matins: Oh! It’s China’s fault! “China, some economists say, lulled American consumers, and their leaders, into complacency about their spendthrift ways.” This is the moral equivalent of blaming the gin and vermouth for not being a fountain of youth.

You have to love the story, though, because it preserves a founding American myth: the people of our fine country are guileless rubes in a world of wicked con men.

Vespers: Here’s a great idea: revoke Robert Merton’s Nobel Prize. Remember LTCM? That was his plane crash.


§ Matins. When Ben Bernanke first proposed his views about the danger of the Chinese-American debt cycle, cheerleader Alan Greenspan still had the job that Mr Bernanke would take over — not, regrettably, in time to crew-cut his predecessor’s pom-poms.

And now, for a report from Hindsight — the 24/7 remorse channel.

In hindsight, many economists say, the United States should have recognized that borrowing from abroad for consumption and deficit spending at home was not a formula for economic success. Even as that weakness is becoming more widely recognized, however, the United States is likely to be more addicted than ever to foreign creditors to finance record government spending to revive the broken economy.

§ Vespers. What is so special about economics? Especially now that leading economists such as Robert Shiller and Paul Krugman are wading into behavioral evaluations of market decisions — what’s that if not sociology?

Christopher Shea writes,

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the much-in-demand former trader and author of “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,” who made his name by more or less predicting the current debacle, has also been using Merton as a punching bag. On his Web site he goes further than to suggest that Merton’s most prestigious award be revoked: “Robert C. Merton is perhaps the best case for the termination of tenure — malpractice.”

2 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Read today’s (Saturday’s) Op-Ed by Bob Herbert : “Stop Being Stupid.” It says it all.

  2. Nom de Plume says:

    Fossil, that sounds like one of the those columns where you don’t need to read it: as you said, the title says it all. My sister recommended to my other sister (notice my absence from the circulation list) a book called “Tell Yourself the Truth.” Another cover that obviates the pages in side.