What Went Wrong? David Wessel Weighs In

Over the next few months, Big Think is rolling out a series of interviews with leading economics experts to analyze the financial crisis and answer some pressing questions: Who’s to blame? Where do we go from here? Today’s interview is with David Wessel, economics editor of the Wall Street Journal and author of the recent bestseller, In Fed We Trust: Bernanke's War on the Great Panic.

He talks about the culprits behind the crisis, Ben Bernanke's performance, what might have been, and the role of the media in provoking and analyzing the crisis. We've asked a network of top economics bloggers to provide some questions for the interviews, as well as weigh in on the answers each week:


Economist’s View - Mark Thoma, Professor of Economics, University of Oregon

Economics One - John B. Taylor, Professor of Economics, Stanford University and former Undersecretary for International Affairs, U.S. Treasury Department

The New Republic’s The Stash - Noam Scheiber

The New Yorker’s The Balance Sheet - James Surowiecki - Columnist, and author of bestseller The Wisdom of Crowds

Marginal Revolution - Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Reuters Finance, Felix Salmon

The American Prospect’s Beat the Press - Dean Baker, Professor of Economics, Bucknell University and Co-Director, Center for Economic Policy Research

The Money Illusion - Scott Sumner, Professor of Economics, Bentley University

Café Hayek - Russ Roberts, Professor of Economics, George Mason University and a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

The Atlantic’s Atlantic Business Channel - Dan Indiviglio

The Fly Bottle - Will Wilkinson, Research Fellow, Cato Institute

The Big Questions - Steven Landsburg - Professor of Economics, University of Rochester and Columnist, Slate

Econlog - Arnold Kling, Adjunct Professor of Economics, George Mason University and former employee of both Freddie Mac and the Federal Reserve

The Atlantic’s Asymmetrical Information - Megan McArdle, Managing Editor, The Atlantic

Causes of the Crisis - Jeff Friedman, Visiting Professor of Political Science, University of Texas and Founding Editor, Critical Review,

National Review’s The Corner/The American Scene - Jim Manzi – Chief Executive Officer, Applied Predictive Technologies

The Economist’s Free Exchange/The Bellows - Ryan Avent, Online Editor, The Economist

Naked Capitalism - Yves Smith, President of Aurora Advisors, and former employee of both Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Co.

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less