Shaun Richards – “Notayesmanseconomics”
What inspired you to first start blogging?
When the credit crunch began I had strong views as to how economic policy should respond. At that time I only had an audience of City of London professionals and wanted to get my views more widely known as I felt that they would ameliorate future problems. As time passed I became more and more frustrated that I had no medium to publicize them. It is also true that I saw what I considered to be policy errors being made by official bodies and wanted to influence the debate and help to prevent them being made in future.
So I started blogging to spread a message I believed in so that it could get a wider audience. I spend time blogging because I still believe in what I am doing and it remains my view that such polices would improve the economic outlook.
What’s your most controversial blog post?
When I suggested for the first time that the European Central Bank was in danger of insolvency.
What’s the elephant in the room?
Inflation and the way inflation indices have been constructed to avoid measuring it.
If you could travel back in time and change something in the financial world that would benefit investors what would it be?
I would go back and make floor/pit traders declare at the beginning of the day whether they were going to trade for themselves or for customers with no merging of the two allowed. I would have retained the split between brokers and jobbers too.
What’s the most exiting thing happening in your area that people don’t know about?
Ironically that is the exciting thing that there is so much that we do not know. We are breaking new economic ground each day.
Name a financial or economic villain and say why.
I am not sure that economics has villains. It does however have poor economists. These days that tends to mean following the consensus view which due to the nature of the current crisis is mostly wrong, but I do not think that they are villains.
Name a financial or economic hero and say why.
Adam Smith for kicking the ball off all those years ago with The Wealth of Nations.
What’s your media diet?
For some articles/posts nothing as I like to write as purely and without influence as possible. for others or when I look for market numbers and news I use Bloomberg and the Financial Times as sources and also increasingly look at twitter for news flow. There are also times when I spend time reading official reports or speeches from institutions such as the Bank of England or European Central Bank.
I do often have the radio on and vary between music for pleasure and the BBC World Service for news and information that is not just for the UK.
Is there such a thing as the wisdom of crowds?
Yes there is but because of the nature of the current crisis we also see the madness of crowds. I cannot mention the madness of crowds without referring back to the South Sea Bubble where the phrase was at least partly invented.I also believe that one of the Rothschilds was quoted as saying he made all his money by buying too late and selling too early!
Blogging is just a passing phase. Discuss.
Now that it exists it looks as though it has created its own niche. I suspect that it will last. But at the end of the day the message is more important than the medium it is transmitted through.