Two tweets from Dani Rodrik

The first is:

Josef Joffe is precisely wrong: Europe’s crisis IS about macroeconomics — not microeconomics:

I would say it is about the connection between microeconomics and macroeconomics.  I understand full well that Sweden is doing fine (despite a very recent slowdown), but I do not get why so many Keynesian economists are so reluctant to condemn the legal and regulatory policies, and rent-seeking practices, of the eurozone periphery.  Stronger nominal aggregate demand is called for but it cannot make everything there fine.

The second is:

Unfortunately Argentina’s government has been giving unorthodox policy a bad name by associating thuggish behavior with it.

I would say this correlation is no accident, and that there are credibility reasons why many economically small countries are so reluctant to break with consensus approaches and international agreements.  An Ireland trying to mimic Iceland would have had a very tough time of it, and it remains to be seen which country has the stronger long-run prospects.  Moisés Naim put it well:

Argentina suffers from high inflation, slowing economic growth, ballooning subsidies, price controls, capital flight, decaying infrastructure and a less than welcoming environment for foreign investors.

Perhaps the good news is this:

It has had limited access to the international financial system since defaulting on its debts in 2001.

We should expect unorthodox approaches and thuggish behavior to be correlated, even if there is no causal connection between the two.  If you then think of the choice variable as “political culture,” rather than “policy today,” that suggests unorthodox approaches are not nearly as good as they may seem upon first glance.


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