Meet Scott Sumner: “The Blogger Who Saved the Economy”

Meet Scott Sumner: “The Blogger Who Saved the Economy”


[set crosstalk]
That idea that people are actually paying attention to it, that was the most exciting,
even though it was just one link on a morning in February 2009. Were we filming that, by
the way? I was acting more naturally because I didn’t
know you were filming me. [laughs] That’s not going to fit in with the rest then.
[media montage] I suppose for me, the most exciting moment
was probably in early 2009, when I got that first link. At the time, I didn’t think anyone
was even going to read the blog, to be honest. And then to finally see, “Yes! I’m getting
links. People are reading it. People are paying attention to what I’m saying.” That was pretty
exciting. Maybe we should cut because I should have
planned a better list here When I started at Bentley in the 1980s, monetary
policy was, quite frankly, pretty boring. I started to focus on the Great Depression
because that seemed to be a really interesting problem that still wasn’t fully resolved.
What the average person does is confuse the symptoms of the Depression with underlying
causes. They don’t know is the role of monetary policy and policy mistakes that actually caused
the Great Depression. I had to go back and start ground zero. Collect
the data. Really dusty old volumes on central bank information. I read essentially the whole
New York Times from the 1930s on microfilm. Interviewer: An entire newspaper, from an
entire decade? Scott: Mmhm
And that’s the point where I realized I had a bigger project than I imagined initially,
that I could take all of these individual pieces of the Great Depression and put it
into a unifying framework in a single book. Well I had completed the book by roughly 2005,
but publishers didn’t want to publish it. [laughs]
And the Great Recession hit. It was only more recently when I got into
the Great Recession, that I saw parallels with the Great Depression. It seemed to me
that most of the discussion of the crisis was missing the point. Other economists were
looking at interest rates. They assumed that money was easy. But commodity prices, stock prices, real estate
prices, every other asset market was signaling money was too tight.
And that’s what really motivated me to get involved in blogging. I didn’t think anyone
was going to read my blog. I never thought it was going to catch on. But a few months
after I started blogging, I was suddenly getting lots of invitations for speaking at conferences,
writing op‑eds, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of publishers express an interest
in looking at the book.

3 thoughts on “Meet Scott Sumner: “The Blogger Who Saved the Economy”

  1. @2:39
    Sumner, you started getting invites to speak at conferences, writing op-eds, etc, because you are ultimately just a useful idiot to the money printers. You confidently and intelligently speak nonsense like the past decade of furious money printing has been an exercise in tight fiscal policy, and exclaim the solution to this weak "recovery" is to print even harder and faster. This is music to Yellen's and The Ben Bernak's ears, so you get the attention and praise from the corrupt lever-pullers. Congratulations.

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