Monday, November 24, 2008

A Greenspan Moment for Summers

So Larry Summers will return to government in a key role on Obama’s economic team. It is said that he has a new outlook, less enamored of markets, more concerned with the fate of the bottom 90%. Fine. I’m all for a second chance, or a fifth or twelfth for that matter. I just want to see a Greenspan moment, with Larry facing the cameras and saying “I was wrong. Not just about a few small things or for a short time. I was wrong about the main thing, the idea that markets can be relied on to regulate the economy in the public interest, and I remained wrong throughout my earlier career in government. I cannot undo all the mistakes I made, but by acknowledging them I hope I can convince you I have learned from that experience, and that I will approach the crucial decisions before us with an open, humble and non-doctrinaire mind.”

I feel petty, oh so petty.


kevin quinn said...

Hah! Wake up, Peter- you're dreaming. Summers is a good example of something that I've always believd: arrogance is not just an ordinary vice, it is an intellectual vice as well. Barro is a good example further down the political spectrum. said...

It would be nice to have such a moment, but Kevin is probably right. The man is profoundly arrogant. The only positive is that he has altered his tune quite a bit in the columns he has been writing in the last couple of years in the Financial Times, so maybe he will not be too bad on policy advising.