Explaining Southern California's economy

The day the economists failed

In this three photo combo, Professor of

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Paul Krugman isn't happy about how economists handled the financial crisis.

Just catching up with this. It's the text of Paul Krugman's speech upon receiving some honorary degrees in Spain. It's well worth a full read. There's some wonky econo-speak, but Krugman's labors as a New York Times op-ed columnist have enabled him to convey some complex ideas with admirable clarity. 

Quick summary: the economists failed when the financial crisis hit. When the economy isn't in crisis, economists are basically useless. But when it all goes to hell, they're urgently needed and must to be ready to offer the best possible advice. 

Krugman thinks he and his fellow economists blew it, mainly because they descended into ideological and intellectual squabbling after the initial, successful response to the crisis was mustered.

He starts by blaming himself. This small portion of the speech, to me, explains a lot about how even a public intellectual/academic economist like Krugman could be blindsided:

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The Tiger Woods theory of the economy

Frys.com Open - Round One

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Tiger Woods' halting comeback mirrors the struggles of the U.S. economy.

There's a remarkable spectacle happening in Northern California right now: Tiger Woods is playing a regular PGA Tour event in the month of October.

But wait, you say, he's a golfer — isn't he supposed to play golf? Well, sure. But he failed to qualify for the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs, and because he's been variously injured and working on changes to his golf swing, he hasn't played much in 2011. But he is on the Presidents Cup team, so he needs to get himself into competitive shape for the event in November.

Woods' is a member of a professional golf elite that has won so often that it doesn't need to grind out a schedule like the rank-and-file. That's why he's been absent from Tour events at this time of year for a decade.

He's not playing particularly well, but he's drawing plenty of scrutiny. His performance reminds me of the economy. Both have been mired in a ditch on the comeback trail for what seems like an eternity. 

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