Monday, November 17, 2008

How Did We Miss the Crash? Or Why Self-Flagellants Never Seem to Learn

Self-flagellation was in evidence all evening to the credit of the journalists present.

Paul Mason, the economics editor of BBC’s Newsnight, hosted a media mea culpa about the Financial Freefall at the Frontline Club on Thursday 7th November. Watch it here. In attendance were: Gillian Tett of the Financial Times, Michael Blastland, a freelance writer, Paul Lashmar, and Ann Pettifor...

...I urged editors not to patronise their readers. People are hungry for a conceptual understanding of economics. Economists I argued were like those tourists on Phuket Beach. Only they were using complex mathematical modelling to measure perturbations on the surface of the water, instead of trying to understand the movement of tectonic plates beneath the waves…

From the Debtonation blog by Ann Pettifor. Pettifor is a political economist and author of 'The Coming First World Debt Crisis' (Palgrave, 2006). This morning at the What is Financial Journalism For? seminar at the LSE she said, quite clearly: "I've lost trust in journalists." She goes to other places for her news. Where, of course, would be the scoop. In the meantime where should we go? How can we trust again? Here is the problem: Pettifor is trustworthy, she predicted this horrible mess, and published a book about it: and she doesn't trust in journalism. How can we?

I like Pettifor's tectonic plates...they fit well with the Rafts of Medusa that are so many newspaper websites.

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