Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pop the Summers' "brain bubble"!

Naomi Klein makes this scathing indictment of Lawrence Summers, and advocates banning him from public life. Describing him as an example of the "Brain Bubble", "wherein the intelligence of an inarguably intelligent person is inflated and valued beyond all reason, creating a dangerous accumulation of unhedged risk", she writes,

Brain Bubbles start with an innocuous "whiz kid" moniker in undergrad, which later escalates to "wunderkind." Next comes the requisite foray as an economic adviser to a small crisis-wracked country, where the kid is declared a "savior." By 30, our Bubble Boy is tenured and officially a "genius." By 40, he's a "guru," by 50 an "oracle." After a few drinks: "messiah."

... he has been spectacularly wrong again and again. He was wrong about not regulating derivatives. Wrong when he helped kill Depression-era banking laws, turning banks into too-big-to-fail welfare monsters. And as he helps devise ever more complex tricks and spends ever more taxpayer dollars to keep the financial casino running, he remains wrong today. Word is that Summers's current post may be a pit stop on the way to the big prize, Federal Reserve chairman. That means he could actually make "maestro."

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