This song resonates with me. Not because of fan-love for Krugman. Because Obama has surrounded himself with a very narrow slice of economic opinion. I’d like Krugman — or someone like him — to be in the room.
What’s most disturbing isn’t that Krugman may be right. It’s that we can’t name a single senior Obama economic adviser who represents the Krugman/Stiglitz wing of economic theory and policy. It’s not a matter of expecting Obama to buy, and implement as policy, every single thing that Krugman and Stiglitz say. But it’s not clear that anyone is even listening to what they have to say, or representing their philosophy at the table when options are being discussed. That is scary. And it’s what the last guys who messed up our economy used to do.
From Open Left:
How would a true pragmatist handle this differently? Well, for starters, he would have an ideologically diverse group of advisers. Instead of having folks like Krugman, Galbraith, Roubini, Stiglitz, Baker, etc. all on the outside criticizing noisily in the public square, he would have at least some of them–or others who think like them–on the inside challenging Summers and Geithner every step of the way. This is a minimal requirement for avoiding group think. You have to actively seek diverse points of view–and then you have to make sure people are encouraged to speak out early and often.
Seeing the name lists in posts like this one also reminds me that leading economists as a group are disproportionately white and male.
Curtsy: Brian Davis’ facebook.