Thursday, May 01, 2008

Killing Adam Smith... in Dilema Veche

Surely Adam Smith couldn't care less by now if anybody threatened to kill him, but here's a serious attempt to even burry his memory. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for the author), this short article, recently published in "Dilema Veche", is in Romanian. Its author is somebody whom some of my Romanian fellows call the greatest Romanian economist alive (though don't bother to search for his top journal articles, cited by all the economics academe; in Romania that was/still is hardly a prerequisite to such honours: we do not like to complicate things). Next to his extensive academic experience, he is also ex-Minister of Finance, ex-Chief Economist of the Romanian National Bank, ex-that and ex-this, ex-everything... the man has clearly got a lot of policy experience and, truth be told, he also did some good things. Even though that might be in the end for the worse: overall, Daianu comes forth as much more of a politician (read: Romanian politician) than an economist (in fact, he's an MEP currently, probably not very busy with serious economics research), as I see him. Though that is hardly an excuse for his confusion in this article, even with respect to assessing others' viewpoints (Greenspan, Krugman etc.), and for his conclusions that are almost foreign to economic reasoning (a simple libertarian-nonlibertarian economic split would have little explanatory power in accounting for that), and bordering dangerously on populistic arguments with null academic basis, e.g. the "moral compass" etc. While I'll let you enjoy dissecting this further on your own, I'll just wrap it up here: forgive him, Adam Smith, he does not know what he is talking about...

PS. If you really want to read a mature opinion about (re)regulating financial markets and what is needed (even that, only in light of what went wrong because of interfering with the free market, to start with...) and what is simply a lot of noise and naivité, try Becker's here (4th bullet point), for instance. You could also check out recent articles by Feldstein, Mankiw, Summers and a few selected others that know what they talk about, though I am too lazy to find the exact links for you now (check my previous posts in the economics category though, they link often to such viewpoints).

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