Readers of this blog are astute and fully briefed on this, the first, fully synchronised global financial crisis in history. You are all aware that yesterday, in an unprecedented move, the Bank of England created £75 billion – out of thin air – to revive the deflating body that is the British economy. You will know that the US banking system is falling apart, and the stock market is spiralling downwards. That the US Labor Bureau has just released unemployment figures showing that more than 650,000 Americans lost their jobs in February.
However, these facts appear to have escaped the attention of the convenors of the Royal Economic Society’s Annual Conference. Here is the agenda for that prestigious event – hot off the press.
Top of the bill is one Pinelopi K. Goldberg (Princeton) who is going to deliver a keynote address on: “Trade and Growth: What can we learn from Micro data?” Next up is David Laibson (Harvard) who will address the assembled conference of economists on “Behavioral Finance, Behavioral Mechanism Design, and Optimal Defaults”. Gilles Saint-Paul (Toulouse, Birkbeck) aims to hit the spot with a lecture on “Endogenous indoctrination”. While Professor Sir John Vickers (Oxford, Presidential Address) will enlighten policy makers around the world with a keynote address on, wait for it: “Competition Policy and Property Rights”.
To be fair to the Royal Society, NIck Stern is on the bill too, and will discuss climate change – a threat greater even than this financial crisis. Sadly, he has not been offered a plenary slot, but instead will be sharing his analysis at a side ‘session’ – the equivalent of a workshop at a civil society gathering.
The ‘generals’ of the Royal Economic Society (complete with medals, see above) march onwards with heads held high. Like their First World War predecessors, they plod doggedly on with micro data , endogenous indoctrination and optimal defaults – regardless of the economic corpses strewn across the landscape or of their relevance to a world crashing down around their ears.