Sunday, February 15, 2009

Remarkable Comments from a Former IMF Chief Economist

Bill Moyers spoke with former International Monetary Fund chief economist and MIT professor Simon Johnson on Bill Moyers Journal. For a former major league bureaucrat, these comments are remarkable:
The situation we find ourselves in at this moment, this week, is very strongly reminiscent of the situations we've seen many times in other places. But they're places we don't like to think of ourselves as being similar to. They're emerging markets. It's Russia or Indonesia or a Thailand type situation, or Korea... I have this feeling in my stomach that I felt in much poorer countries, countries that were headed into a really difficult economic situation, when there’s a small group of people who got you into a disaster, who were still powerful, and disaster made them more powerful... Don’t get me wrong – these are fine upstanding citizens who have a certain perspective and a certain kind of interest, and they see the world a certain way... That web of interest is not my interest or your interest or the interest of the taxpayer. It’s the interest, first and foremost, of the financial industry in this country.
The entire must see video is here. Johnson is a bit to in love with Obama, and doesn't at all see that regulators are a big part of the problem, but overall this is the most remarkable interview splling the beans on insiders. He calls them the American oligarchs. This, of course, isn't anything new to long time EPJ readers, see, for example, The Oligarchs Win.

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