Pontificating about the economy has become so widespread that you may be considered stupid if you don’t have an opinion about it. The opinion per se doesn’t matter, as long as you have one or a few.
You sit up and take notice when so called experts profess views which contradict, shock & agitate their peers, and sometimes themselves over time.
The recent momentous event, when the US Fed raised interest rates, is a case in point. The move was cautiously welcomed by a well known economist. His peer from the local university vehemently opposed it, saying more easing and lower rates are paramount now, staking his reputation by forecasting the global economy is doomed and a greater recession is on the cards. The quasi-retired nobel laureate, not happy being confined to teaching and researching the dismal science, has to have his say too. He writes an op-ed saying both the previous views are wrong – the fed should neither raise or lower rates, but just sit tight & watch. Many others – journalists, intellectuals, politicians, amateurs, housewives – jump into the fray, writing blogs, articles, columns, throwing kitty parties and so on, to discuss the state of the economy.
Businessmen & fund managers add their own twist to the story, so to speak, taking the debate in directions which benefit them. They add richer color, texture, more characters & sub-plots to the unfolding reality show.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, the europeans who have long copied the Fed moves feel pressurized to follow suit. But some local intellectuals fiercely oppose blind aping of the US and lament the demise of independent thinking in Europe. Many camps with opposing views form as rapidly as the abnormal rise in valuations of the so called unicorns in the start-up world. Europe, being a clutch of countries with varied views despite a a common history, is soon awash in a sea of opinions and views from prime ministers, historians, shoppers, and migrants.
The plot thickens. Newspapers & magazines have a gala time debriefing the lay public with their own versions of the reality show. Plots, sub-plots & characters are analyzed to death.
The rest of the world cannot be far behind. Japan is as confused as it has been for the last few decades. Its been doing the 4 steps forward, 2 steps backward, x steps forward economic dance for sometime. Copying the west, though grudgingly, through policies named in catchy local lingo to protect its proud heritage looks easy. China, of course, cannot be like other countries. Its a behemoth and has to flex it muscles. It continues to do what it does best, navigating its economy in mysterious ways. Most other countries trudge along, casting, re-casting, shuffling and re-hashing views and opinions expressed all over the world.
The press goes berserk. More ammunition, fascinating plots, foreign landscapes, & quirky characters.
Sit back, enjoy the show.