Rick Bookstaber appeared on a panel with a couple of FT Alphaville bloggers last night; "whether they become viewed as journalists," he rather cattily writes, "time will tell".
Bookstaber essentially says that blogs are "the cognitive equivalent of a string of Star Burst candies", and says that "I am employing a stream of consciousness approach in this post out of respect for my topic, because I want to write about blogs in the same way most blogs are produced and read." Oh, and for good measure, he ends the post by comparing bloggers to "rodents". Nice.
Clearly we bloggers didn’t make a very good impression on Bookstaber last night. But he’s entirely wrong about blogs. What journalistic outlet would provide a CDS overview as long and detailed as Peter Wallison’s? Bite-sized it’s most certainly not. Has Bookstaber ever read anything by, say, Willem Buiter? This blog entry, to take one instance of many, is longer, smarter, and altogether better than anything I’ve seen in the MSM on the subject of euroization. What about the fabulous blog entries of Tanta at Calculated Risk, or the incredibly detailed investigations of international money flows chez Brad Setser?
Policymakers are reading blogs during this crisis; Bookstaber should too. The ideas at places like Econbrowser, Interfluidity, and The Baseline Scenario, among many others, are detailed, sophisticated, and important. VoxEU has become a crucial forum for academics and policymakers to debate ideas; the Economists’ Forum at the FT is another. The high-end econoblogosphere has become a global seminar where ideas are honed and improved; the world is undoubtedly a better place for it.
What has Bookstaber got against blogs? It’s weird he should have this uninformed opinion, especially since he has a blog himself. (Although it’s a very hermetic one: the total number of links in his last ten blog entries is exactly
zero one.) And it’s even weirder that he should want everybody to know how reactionary he is on the subject. But maybe he just wanted to say on his blog what he was too scared to say to the bloggers’ faces last night.