Saturday, 25 July 2009

Zombie Ideas

John Quiggin, a social democratically inclined Aussie academic economist, is writing a book including a chapter on the Efficient Market Hypothesis (and other 'zombie' idea): he's trying out rough drafts of bits of the chapter over at Crooked Timber. It's all worth a read, but I like this bit:

"Once the EMH is accepted, there is no need to worry about imbalances in savings and consumption. International capital movements can be seen as the aggregate of a large number of transactions between ‘consenting adults’, buying and selling financial assets in markets which, according to the EMH, have already taken into account all available information about future risks. If a national government has better information, the appropriate response is not to act on it, but to release the information to the markets.

On the traditional, income-based view, by contrast, asset-based arguments are misleading and dangerous. By the time sentiment shifts in asset markets, the opportunity for an orderly adjustment will already have been lost. Advocates of the traditional view pointed to episodes of contagious panic in financial markets..."

Well, quite.

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