Conference like its 1999
A long time ago, I read an article whose author had read through all the leading economics journals from the 1930s. The striking finding was that only a tiny proportion of the articles published in those years concerned the Depression and what to do about it. This struck me as a disastrous state of affairs, and has been one factor in pushing me to comment on the important issues of the day, rather than to a narrow specialisation.
But, having attended the Australian Conference of Economists for the last couple of days, I have to say that a future historian of economic thought will be able to rewrite much the same article about the current crisis. Only a handful of papers presented at the conference have dealt with the crisis, even indirectly, and most of those have concluded that we only need marginal adjustments to our current way of doing things.
The opening plenary session, for example, was on inflation targeting and the main message was that, all things considered, inflation targeting worked pretty well in the Global Financial Crisis. Some tweaks might be needed in the future, but then again they might not. This was the same conclusion as at the Reserve Bank 60th Anniversary meeting earlier this year, and I find it pretty hard to believe.
About the best I can say is that, against this background, my Zombie Economics book stands out.