Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At a Time Like This Who Cares About Macroeconomics?

krugman-blah-blah-blah.jpg That may sound like a stupid question—obviously some people need to care a lot about macroeconomics right now. But why should I?

Every morning my feed reader is full of the analysis, meta-analysis, and personal infighting of macroeconomists. Massive spending, massive tax cuts, or something else? Is $800 billion enough? Should we nationalize the banking system? Is this time like last time, or maybe the time before that? Shouldn't we have seen it coming? Are we in a depression?

To which I say, "Who cares?"

The macro guys can squawk about these questions all day long, but what matters to me is something completely different. I want to know how the crisis affects me, my family, and my business, and how I can use it to my best advantage.

The New York Times Economix blog (ooh, edgy!) today features a Harvard economics professor telling me to spend whatever cash I have. What a joke. Not following absurd advice that like is the reason I still have cash to spend.

I want to know who not only survived the Great Depression but got rich from it and how. Anticipating inflation, should I borrow at today's super-low interest rates to buy distressed assets like real estate? How do I hedge against the possibility of a further collapse in both equities and corporate bonds? Is there an international angle to this (e.g., Canada) that has been overlooked?

Until the talking heads have something useful to tell me personally, I think I'll learn more from Chapter 6: Household Behavior and Consumer Choice.


Mark Crofton said...


to your comment: "I want to know who not only survived the Great Depression but got rich from it and how."

I just bought "Contagion" by John Talbott. The subtitle is promising: "The Financial Epidemic that is sweeping the global economy....and how to protect yourself from it." Not getting rich, but not losing either.

I'll let you know the effect on my net worth after reading.


Ryan Romanchuk said...

Charlie, you almost sounds like an Austrian..... be careful.

Charlie said...


How so? And remember, I'm not against any particular economic religion, I'm against economic religion in general. I want to hear arguments backed up by data and statement of fact, not ideology. Positive, not normative. Bring it on!