Last of the Mohicans/Singing the same old song

by John Q on December 31, 2009

For me the big change that came with the last decade was blogging. I started in 2002, and it’s been a big part of my life (sometimes too big) ever since. So, when it came to review the decade, the obvious place to look was the Wayback Machine, which captured my old blogspot blog on 27 July 2002. Looking at the blog as it was then, two things jump out at me

* Looking at the blogroll, I feel like the last of the Mohicans. The bloggers of those days have nearly all retired, and hardly any has a solo blog anymore. CT is something of an exception – quite a few of us still keep our personal blogs going. Mine is here.

* I’m singing the same song now as I was all those years ago. The top post on the page is about how the financial crisis has discredited the efficient markets hypothesis, trickle down economics, privatisation and so on. Of course that was the dotcom financial crisis of 2000-01. I think a few more people are paying attention this time around, but we will have to wait and see.



Michael Harris 01.01.10 at 1:00 am

Who from your blogroll are still actively commenting on other blogs (inc. yours)?

Idle curiosity …


Barry 01.01.10 at 1:31 pm

John, I also checked out the current site ( Did somebody else take it over?


Jim Johnson 01.01.10 at 7:54 pm

John, at Economist’s Voice last week Casey Mulgan offered a robust defense of all the positions you think have been (repeatedly) discredited. And in my UofC alumni magazine last summer there was a report of a love-fest the economics department threw for itself in which there seemed not the least trace of self-reflection. My guess is that in 2019 you’ll be able to recycle this post. The ‘good’ thing about ideologues is that they don’t change.


y81 01.01.10 at 8:40 pm

Bubbles and busts have been with us for a long, long time, so clearly they do not and will not discredit the EMH in the minds of those disposed to it. I don’t understand why someone would expect otherwise.

I mean, did the collapse of the Soviet Union cause John Kenneth Galbraith or Paul Kennedy to write essays about how wrong they had been? Intellectuals don’t function that way.


ejh 01.01.10 at 8:54 pm

I don’t think it’s ideologues so much as affluent people. Affluent people benefit far more from free markets than other people and lose far less in recessions. As a system it makes perfect sense to them when it’s working, and when it’s not – their world isn’t shattered, is it?


USWguy 01.01.10 at 9:23 pm

“I don’t think it’s ideologues so much as affluent people. Affluent people benefit far more from free markets than other people and lose far less in recessions. As a system it makes perfect sense to them when it’s working, and when it’s not – their world isn’t shattered, is it?”

This is right on and entirely explanatory. C. Wright Mills had it cold fifty years ago. The defense of the EMH and of Finance Capitalism is an “ideology of legitimation”. It doesn’t have to be correct. It only has to be the ideology of the powerful. And the powerful only need to be powerful enough to be able to manufacture consent.

William Berry


John Quiggin 01.02.10 at 1:35 am

@Michael, Tim Dunlop is still moderately active as a commenter, and has a music blog I think. Tim Blair is now a journ0-blogger at the Tele. That’s about it.

@Barry The site got hijacked for no obvious reason and Blogger didn’t respond to requests to give it back.

@Everyone else. Over at my blog, commenter nanks mentioned Planck’s remark about believers in the old line dying and being replaced rather than being convinced. I’m not quite so pessimistic. Not many people write mea culpas but
(a) a lot of people quietly readjust
(b) relative prestige shifts, as it did towards Keynesians after 1945 and towards monetarists/market liberals after the 1970s.


Miracle Max 01.02.10 at 1:53 am

Methinks financial crises through the ages don’t discredit bad ideas because said ideas are based on politics, not some self-perfecting evolution of theory. The same political forces that militate against recognizing and dealing with bubbles sweep along the bulk of economists, along with everybody else.


Hattie 01.02.10 at 4:13 am

These past years have been ones of incredible stagnation. It’s unprecedented.


Down and Out of Sài Gòn 01.02.10 at 4:18 am

The blogroll may have changed, but there’s some very familiar names in the body: DeLong, Krugman and Andrew Sullivan. Oz Bloggers have a shorter shelf life than their American equivalents.


ejh 01.02.10 at 9:49 am

#7: while of course it’s true that a lot of people quietly readjust, and that intellectual attitudes change, I’d doubt whether that on its own is enough to change an outlook which suits both well-off people’s interests (most of the time) and their prejudices, without causing them any serious harm. It’s difficult to compare the present period with the period after 1945: organised labour was much more powerful then and far more people identified with it – and perhaps even more to the point, there had been the Second World War which really did shatter a lot of people’s worlds and change a lot of people’s minds. I can think of no better manifestation than David Niven’s airman declaring himself “Conservative by nature, Labour by experience”

(and anybody who can watch that without blubbing is doing better than I ever do).


Billikin 01.02.10 at 2:19 pm

As one of my profs used to say, “Science marches on, funeral by funeral.” ;)


Alex 01.03.10 at 1:39 pm

Jesus Christ! In August 2003 I had Winds of Change on my blogroll. This was before Joe Katzman demonstrated to me that he was a total arse (over Edward Said’s death). Delinking rows – so 2003…

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