t r u t h o u t
Friday 13 February 2009
The Bill Moyers Journal
Former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), MIT Sloan School of Management professor and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Simon Johnson examines President Obama’s plan for economic recovery.
Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Journal.
The battle is joined as they say – and here’s the headline that framed it: “High Noon: Geithner v. The American Oligarchs.” The headline is in one of the most informative new sites in the blogosphere called: baselinescenario.com. Here’s the quote that grabbed me:
“There comes a time in every economic crisis, or more specifically, in every struggle to recover from a crisis, when someone steps up to the podium to promise the policies that – they say – will deliver you back to growth. The person has political support, a strong track record, and every incentive to enter the history books. But one nagging question remains. Can this person, your new economic strategist, really break with the vested elites that got you into this much trouble?”
And here’s the man who asked that question. Simon Johnson is former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. He now teaches global economics and management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is a senior fellow of the Peterson Institute. He is co-founder of that website I quoted – baselinescenario.com – where he analyzes the global economic and financial crisis.
Welcome, Simon Johnson to the Journal.
Simon Johnson: Nice to be here.
Bill Moyers: What are you signaling with that headline, “Geithner vs. the American Oligarchs”?
Simon Johnson: I think I’m signaling something a little bit shocking to Americans, and to myself, actually. Which is the situation we find ourselves in at this moment, this week, is very strongly reminiscent of the situations we’ve seen many times in other places.
But they’re places we don’t like to think of ourselves as being similar to. They’re emerging markets. It’s Russia or Indonesia or a Thailand type situation, or Korea. That’s not comfortable. America is different. America is special. America is rich. And, yet, we’ve somehow find ourselves in the grip of the same sort of crisis and the same sort of oligarchs.