Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wasting a recession, African aid, principles courses, housing, stock predictions, and Krugman.

Simon Johnson echoes an idea from Rahm Emanuel: Don't let a recession go to waste. The idea is, essentially, that a recession is a time where more people are willing to back big change. I'm not sure how I feel about this--I'd be happy if things changed for the better, but how do I know I can trust legislators? Should interest groups have an opportunity to push the country around, while we're down? That being said, the five points that Emanuel listed seem like good ones, and people seem to trust this administration much more than the previous one.

A FT discussion on Africa: Is Aid Working? It's an interesting discussion, and I'm of the opinion is that aid can work, but more than giving money, steps must be taken to ensure and enhance the effectiveness of aid.

Scott Beaulier relays a message from Greg Mankiw. Despite the recent events, economics principles courses won't change significantly. The groundwork that those classes lay stays the same, though graduate courses will likely see change in the fields of financial economics or public choice.

A couple on housing. Six years of housing price gains have been wiped away in three years, in real terms. CalculatedRisk has graphs on that, as well as the price-to-rent and price-to-income ratios.

And a couple (more) on the recession: Political Calculations tries to predict changes in the stock market, based on recession probabilities. It should be interesting to watch June 16-23 and September 10-16. And, Krugman is somewhat optimistic in a recent statement, as he says the world economy is stabilizing. We've avoided catastrophe! Still, he frets about the nature of the recovery. I note this isn't getting more media coverage, like Krugman's previous, less optimistic predictions.

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