Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why no one saw the crisis coming?- An explaination for Queen Elizabeth II

The question reminds me of King Charles II who invited members of the Royal Society to explain why a dead fish weighs more than same fish alive. After the Royal society provided various explanations it was brought to everyone’s notice that they actually weigh the same! It is the same with current economic crisis.

The group of eminent economists could not foresee the current crisis due to “failure of collective imagination of many bright people”. In my humble view, your highness, this is incorrect. Nobody actually bothered to make the real‑world observations. How could one not notice unemployed people buying multiple homes? Or, how could they not notice people with mortgage repayments more than their incomes?

Such ignorance on the part of trusted few will cost the world dearly. The developed world, including Great Britain, is on throes of worst economic decline spurred by international debt. We are facing a decline in standard of living that will undo decades of development. In such times of calamity, the elites are busy retrofitting explanations to history. The “group of eminent economists” has been deeply inbred and so have all other eminent groups who run the financial system. These are groups formed between likeminded fellows, those conforming to specified views. These groups have shown clan-like behaviour ridiculing alternate points of view. One only needs to look at ridicule heaped on likes of Peter Schiff, Nicholas Nassim Taleb, Nouriel Roubini and others. These groups lack diversity of opinion to understand multiple facets of financial, economic innovation.

I further disagree with the economists’ gracious claim that everyone was doing their job to the best of their abilities. If guarding the door “to the best of our abilities” when thieves attack through the window, you are not much of a guard, are you? Sadly, even the press has abandoned its duties of fourth estate. Our journalists no longer reflect on social implications and problems but often report from their own ivory towers. We haven't seen any pointed intelligent debate between press and policy makers even as policy response aggravates the crisis further.

To ensure such crises never occur again, we need more respectful cross-disciplinary debates involving social understanding and moral values. We need philosophers and cross disciplinary thinkers more than ever. Usually, such is the responsibility of the House of Lords. Are there, if I may humbly ask, real knights amongst your ranks, your majesty?

Note: This is a response to Guardian Story about Economists explaining how the crisis happened to the Queen.