Simon Johnson as Number 1 Public Intellectual

Congrats to Simon Johnson, who Prospect Magazine has named the #1 Public Intellectual of the financial crisis. Simon (and James!) have the intellectual part down, but what I find most impressive is the Public part – their writing is for a general educated audience, and they are able to make their often technical and complicated points in a way that advances the debate while not just writing for technocratic wonks. Their blog and writings are a fantastic addition to the public sphere.

Mostly I just want to reproduce this image though.


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8 Responses to Simon Johnson as Number 1 Public Intellectual

  1. vimothy says:

    I guess everyone has forgotten the faults of the IMF and the Washington Consensus, then, huh?

  2. Pingback: Thursday links: surging sentiment Abnormal Returns

  3. eesh… Yes, Simon Johnson has written some sensible things about the crisis, but my image of Johnson is as a part of the clueless Acemoglu, Johnson, Robinson trio which made up settler mortality data, and then used that data as an inappropriate proxy for “institutions” (saying it was uncorrelated w/ geography).

    The one time I saw him in person, he every bit as crazy as his AJR papers…

    So I’m skeptical he’s had that many clever insights into the crisis, although I haven’t read him for months…

  4. Ted K says:

    Haha, that cartoon is so awesome Mike. That’s why I love this freaking site and Mike Konczal.

    I GENERALLY am a Simon Johnson fan, although some things at Peterson Institute bother me. That is the only thing that is negative to me about Simon Johnson. It just seems some things at Peterson are too much “party line” or just, give you some weird feeling. Not like Watergate or conspiracy weird, but a little too internationalist and a little jilted from reality.

    But Simon Johnson has done a lot of great work on the banking issue, and he reminds me of Andrew Sullivan (over at “The Dish” blog) in that even though his British background you got the feeling he sincerely cares about America and has a warmth to America’s better parts.

  5. Ted K says:

    Although I guess James Kwak hates me now, ’cause I give him a lot of shit on his site (some deserved some undeserved). But I think James Kwak is the second best financial/economic blogger on the internet (next to Mike Konczal). I’ve always thought of “Baselinescenario” as Kwak’s site, even Johnson gives it name recognition. Kwak is the one who does most of the original material and sets the tone for the site. It’s amazing how well Kwak grasps the financial issues when you consider finance doesn’t seem to be Kwak’s first love or original background.

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