Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bruce Bartlett, "FDL Book Salon Welcomes Dean Baker: Plunder and Blunder," firedoglake, January 25, 2009.

Thank you for the opportunity to host a forum on Dean Baker’s book, “Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy.” As I’m sure that most readers of this blog know, Dean is an economist who has long been affiliated with the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

There’s a lot a material in Dean’s book that is covered much too briefly. In some ways it is an economic history of the postwar era. For those who aren’t economists and want a left-of-center perspective in a very few pages, this is a good place to start.

  ...virtually all the people with the training, experience and access to data that would have allowed them to see the high-tech bubble or the housing bubble were virtual captives of the man responsible for both.

Unfortunately, a price is paid for such brevity. Issues on which there is considerable debate even among economists on the left are presented as if our understanding is clear and unambiguous. Also, they are almost always treated as if the connection to particular governmental policies is direct and causal.

But I don’t wish to dwell on my problems with Dean’s book because I would rather talk about what I like about it. The fact is that he got the Big One right; that is the roots of the current economic malaise. Chapters 5 and 6 offer a very clear and accessible discussion of how we got where we are today.

Read the rest here =>
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