This day a year ago in London, in a computer room at LSE, I opened the "Don't worry, I'm an economist!" blog. What started off as an idea to educate readers on some basic economic concepts and mechanisms (the opening topics were QE, banking reform, financial transaction tax, credit easing, regulation and the euro break-up) ended up as a place where I contemplate on any idea I come across, often analyzed from a political economy, libertarian, and institutional perspective (depending on the topic). I am happy to say that the blog has evolved into a platform for my ideas on what caused the crisis (see a summary of my paper on the political economy of the crisis, or an analysis into the causes of the Eurozone contagion, both of which I have decided to make into a special page), and how to start the recovery.
What I hoped to have achieved is to send a message on what is needed to start a recovery - a set of pro-market structural reforms supported by a strong institutional environment. This is not a 'one size fits all' approach since every country has a different formal institutional environment characterized by different historical and cultural development of its informal institutions. The shock of the crisis that led to its long-lasting consequences wasn't an aggregate demand shock, but a structural shock characterized by years of declining productivity and an inability to adapt to a huge technological change in the past 10-15 years. So it is only natural to suggest that the old system needs to be changed structurally to adapt to its new surroundings and new assumptions. Just like an old economics model, it needs to recalculate in new variables.
Since this is an anniversary post, I'll look back on some of my proudest (and most read) works:
- The text that has attracted by far the most readers has been the analysis of the Eurozone contagion. This page on the blog was based on a series of 6 post I worked on back in November, in a time when the Eurozone contagion was reaching a boiling point. There is even a separate post from February summarizing the main points on the root causes of the crisis, entitled "Imported instability".
- The second most read was the page presenting a summary of my paper on the financial crisis.
- Several other posts have attracted both a lot of readers and generated interesting comments; such as the problems of a Hungarian business owner, the inequality debate (featuring several posts) or the NGDP targeting explanation.
- I'm especially fond of (and recommend to new readers) my texts on the fiscal stimulus debate, the recovery paradigms, austerity on several occasions, institutional reform, restoring confidence, modern consumption theory, Britain's productivity conundrum, the employment-population ratio, the misunderstanding of Argentine devaluation, political stability, the Greek default and reform, Romney's 47 percent and the US welfare state, and last but not least, a text on Austro-Keynesianism summarizing my economic philosophy.
- In June I devoted the entire month's writing on examining case study examples of different World economies and their responses to crises in the past, or their future outlook. The series featured posts on the Swedish success, the German success, Latvia and Estonia, Iceland, Spain's failure, Russia's problems, and the sustainability of Chinese growth.
- I have also done a series of business cycle tracking posts, which have examined the current course of the recovery for the US and the EU in two occasions so far (the idea is a half year inquiry into the state of the recovery). Apart from examining the leading indicators that could signal a recovery, I also looked into business and consumer confidence in separate posts for all the examined countries.
- Most recently I focused on the issues of a monetary stimulus (regarding actions of the Fed and the ECB), that have culminated in my overview and criticism of market monetarism, and the dangers of keeping interest rates low for too long.
- Back in December I started with a weekly graph where I observed interesting facts from a variety of sources. Very often the graphs served a purpose of me proving an earlier made point, but they very often turned into a decent stand alone text.
- Summing up some of my main points from the blog helped me write texts for Vox.EU, the Adam Smith Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, and a series of presentations I did on various occasions. They will surely be helpful in my lecturing job.
I am particularly thankful on the feedback I received from some of the readers on how helpful the blog has been to them. And I am thankful for all the interesting comments I receive that often light up a discussion on a particular topic.
Finally, thanks to all my readers for making this worthwhile.