Martin Wolf on Fareed Zakaria: Worth a View

FT's Martin Wolf

FT's Martin Wolf

I’m not one to recommend CNN programming these days. Actually, I’m not one to recommend programming on any of the TV stations these days.  However, I  find FT’s Martin Wolf one of the few voices of economic reason in the world. He was interviewed on Fareed Zakaria’s program today.  It’s one of the few CNN programs left with an international twist. They’ve watered down most of the new shows to the point I consider People Magazine a better source of global news.  This program will be repeated this evening at 5 est so you may want to try to watch.  Also, Canadian PM Harper is on the program.  Both the Canadians and the Brit’s have economists for PMs.  It’s amazing to listen to his interview because it’s full of wonky specifics rather than hopey changeyness–that as Martin Wolf says–lacks boldness of vision and action in its actualization.  Listen to Harper.  It’s an amazing contrast to some one who needs a teleprompter with words penned by a 27 year old frat boy to form a complete sentence.

Fareed Zakaria never insults the intelligence of his audience. That is also a reason I enjoy his program.  He wants to stimulate discussions and thought.  He has a juicy wonderful list of books that he recommends.  This week’s selection is a biography of Keynes.  You might know him as the father of economics and government stimulus, but he was also a very interesting character.  He frequently attended white house dinners with

JM Keynes

JM Keynes

his husband of the moment and was known for writing some fairly outrageous social and political commentary.  The book is: John Maynard Keynes, Economist, Philosopher, Statesman” by Robert Skidelski. I’m putting it on my summer reading list.

One of the primary reasons that I listen to Martin Wolf is that he is English so he has no political dogs in the hunt for a return to global prosperity.  His focus is purely on getting out of this mess.  That is why I’m listening to him even more than Paul Krugman.  Krugman may have tenure at Princeton and a Noble prize, but much of his column has to do with maintaining popularity here at home.  After all, he won’t get invited to all those sexy parties if he criticizes the home team too shrilly.   Brit Wolf gives the Obama economic team an English B for a grade. That would translate roughly to a D here in the United States.  He says that it’s not that the talent isn’t there because it is very much there.  Wolf says that there is a time that calls for bold action.  This was a time when bold action could be taken.  He also says what we have gotten is basically carefully parsed politics as usual which is anything but bold.

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