Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Which alphabet shall it be ?

When will the world come out of recession ? How will the recovery look like ? Questions that are in our thoughts all the time.

Self appointed experts are falling over themselves predicting the answers to these questions. The flavour of the month seems to be to characterize the recovery after an alphabet.

Some economists are predicting a ‘V” recovery – a straight rise after the steep down. Other think it will be a “U” – down, flat and then up again. Nouriel Roubini, an economist noted for being one of the few to have thought a recession was coming before it came, thinks it will be a “W” . As economists have to invent a term for everything, this will be a “double dip” recession. Now Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, an advertising giant, thinks it will be a “L”.

Unfortunately, humility has not been a particular virtue of economists. The least they can do, after failing en masse to see a recession coming, is to keep quiet in penance. No. They are loudly proclaiming their ability to forecast the recovery. They talk about seeing “green shoots”.

At least the Economist was contrite enough to write a cover story – “What went wrong with economics”. It defends the science and its practitioners, of course, but it does accept the profession went so far wrong that it has virtually discredited itself.

Now I have some aspirations to being a “guru” myself – hence all the pontification in this blog !! I have an alphabet to predict the future too. Actually three.

World – please arise and take note. The recovery will be a 经济学 . This will be the exact shape of the recovery. For after all, this is Chinese for economics.

PS - If you see three squares instead of an alphabet in my prediction of the recovery, it means two things. First it means you are not sufficiently economics trained to understand my intricate prediction. Secondly, your browser settings are not set to see Chinese characters !