Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

VoxEU: Will we ever learn?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-04-20

VoxEU’s Eight hundred years of financial folly has an excellent set of graphs and discussion from a database with 8 centuries of financial data.

To tickle me further, it quotes from Gibbon (without saying it came from the section praising the Antonines Pius and Aurelius, who had slow economic growth, and furnished little history):

History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.

For the impatient, I’ll quote something that got me giggling from near the bottom of the article, but hope you’ll all go and read the post in full, and ponder the implications of the graphs.

There is a view today that both countries and creditors may have learned from their mistakes…  Such celebration may be premature.  Technology has changed, the height of humans has changed, and fashions have changed.  Yet the ability of governments and investors to delude themselves, giving rise to periodic bouts of euphoria that usually end in tears, seems to have remained a constant.

I think Gibbon would have admired the author’s long term view, the structure of the argument and such a conclusion.

But, wait for it, (giggle, chortle), the author, Carmen M. Reinhart, is formerly both a Bear Sterns VP (snigger) and Deputy Director at IMF Research Department.  Delicious irony!!  (Guffaw! choke!)  She’s probably too competent, and too truthful, thus explaining the “former” bits…


One Response to “VoxEU: Will we ever learn?”

  1. Balneus said

    […] Expanding on the theme of a previous post […]

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