Monday, June 13, 2011


In a recent post, Noah reviews the hopes of economists for economic recovery. "Past performance is no guarantee of future results," he says. "I am not reassured by a long-term plot of United States gross domestic product," he says. "The kinda-sorta stability of the long-term U.S. GDP growth rate is not a law of the Universe," he says. "The assumption that the dip in U.S. output that we call the 'Great Recession' will be made up for by fast growth in the future is unfounded."


Noah's conclusion, with an update, reads as follows:

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. It may well be that a return to our "trend" growth rate, and/or a return to our "trend" level of output, may be contingent on our policy choices. At least, I am not willing to assume that that is not the case...

What "policy choices," you may ask? Well, the answer is that I don't know.

Noah quotes Mark Thoma: "...historically we've always recovered from recessions." Doesn't mean it'll happen again, Noah says. Then, in an update:

Mark Thoma writes a very long and good post about the "return to trend" controversy, which also cites other long and good posts by Brad DeLong, Greg Mankiw, and Paul Krugman. Definitely read it! And, of course, it almost goes without saying that I think we should try our best to boost output back to the "trend," whether or not that would happen on its own.

Wow. "Return to trend" is a controversy?

Thoma, DeLong, Mankiw, Krugman. Four economists -- five, counting Noah -- focus on a 'controversy' about predicting the future.

Is anybody focused on the policy choices? Wait... Strike that. Is anybody focused on the economic problem? On pinpointing the problem? For we cannot make good policy choices if we do not understand the problem to its origin.

1 comment:

Jazzbumpa said...

Krugman has been all over this for a long time. Yes to all the Qs in your last para.