23 August 2010

Ex-Fed Governor Mishkin in 'Pay for Say' Controversy Over Icelandic Economy

The Icelandic Chamber of Commerce commissioned ex-Fed Governor Mishkin to write a glowing report on their economy, even while the country was being destroyed from within by a rogue banking system, a financial oligarchy, and a corrupt regulatory regime.

What is surprising is that there was no disclosure of the payment of $124,000 and that Mishkin was unable to cite any substantial effort he made to investigate the economy when forming his analysis.

Alan Greenspan handled his own apparent faux pas in mismanaging the Federal Reserve and actively opposing the regulatory efforts that might have stemmed the orgy of financial fraud which occurred on his watch much more skillfully, so that the Fed was able to gain even more power from the recent 'financial reform' crafted by an industry complaisant Congress.

In a recent NY Times piece Making It Up, Paul Krugman takes economic fluffery to task, and rightfully so. In this day of think tanks and special interest foundations, there are often experts willing to engage in 'pay for say.' Experts are not exempt from the powerful contamination and capture by special interests, particularly the financial industry, that has affected regulators and politicians

In the formulation of public policy the learned opinions of economists must be weighed carefully, and the supporting data examined. And of course any conflicts of interest disclosed. Academic economists are no different than anyone else, because as it appears, their interests are not always purely academic.

As in so many instances of scandal and corruption, the best disinfectant is the light of day in the form of transparency, disclosure, and public accountability and review.

"Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show it can bear discussion and publicity." Lord Acton