It is the time of year when many people make new year’s resolutions, and I have one myself. In 2012 I want to do better at staying above the fray, looking toward long-term solutions rather than arguing each day’s hottest controversies.
Contrary to what you might see in many of my posts in 2011, not to mention much of the writings of other economists, it is not an economist’s job to offer opinions on whatever political feud or business debacle people are discussing that day. Even technical insight is of little value unless it helps people make better decisions. I said last year that economists should be more like sports commentators, creating a narrative for the flow of events and for what might happen next. That would at least help people understand what decisions are there to be made. It is no accident that sportscasters sit ten meters above the playing field. They could hardly tell you how the game was going if they were down on the field in the middle of the action. It is a perspective I will try to remember in the new year as I comment on life, the world, and matters of economics.