Brownian motion: a cure for subcrime cancer?

While the G7 in Washington was inconclusive, Europe advanced more yesterday by generalising G. Brown’s approach: each country will use its own resources, but the plan is coordinated –  aiming to interbank lending and temporary quasi-nationalisations (taxpayer- based recapitalisation of banks). Today’s rally (now 6% in Europe, at 4 pm GMT) is meaning nothing: we were observing a decreasing length of rally periods after injections of money and policies. The political good news is the return to a Berlin-Paris axis, which traditionally marks political waves of Europe building.


 G. Brown is a Robin Hood PRO TEMPORE: after the crisis, he’ll give banks back to rentiers, and Nottingham will be exploited as  it was before.

Brownian Motion in Europe

Published: October 13 2008 09:48 | Last updated: October 13 2008 16:24

Perhaps Gordon Brown should travel more often. The lugubrious British premier, out of sorts at home and seriously adrift in the polls, has been styled as a swashbuckling conductor in the Spanish press, and a “magician” in France. Europe has apparently bought into Mr Brown’s conviction that this is a severe, but transient crisis of confidence that can be overcome by piling on more and more government debt.

While the wisdom of that strategy is questionable, it is clear that there is strength in numbers. If governments all muck in together, using taxpayers’ money to recapitalise banks while providing guarantees on new debt issuance, they sacrifice their balance sheets en masse. Some budget deficits will widen more than others. But if they cock a collective snook at fiscal rules and targets, they’ll discourage capital arbitrage within the Union …


Roubini Hood is optimist for the 1st time in years

I spent the weekend in Washington attending the IMF annual meetings and giving a series of talks in a variety of public and private fora (IADB talk, C-Span interview, Euro 50 Group meeting, IMF panel, etc.). After last week crash in stock markets and financial markets (and it was indeed a crash as during the week equity prices fell as much as the two day crash of 1929) policy makers finally realized the risk of a systemic financial meltdown, they peered into the systemic collapse abyss a few steps in front of them and finally got religion and started announcing radical policy actions (the G7 statement, the EU leaders agreement to bailout European banks, the British plan to rescue – and partially nationalize – its banks, the European countries plans along the same lines, and the Treasury plan to ditch the initial TARP that was aimed only buying toxic assets in favor of plan to recapitalize – i.e. partially nationalize – US banks and broker dealers. While many details of these plans are fuzzy and there will be some national variants the contour of the approach are similar andclose to the recommendations that I made in this forum

Paul laureate in Stockholm

As you see from motivations, the Nobel goes to Paul for two distinct streams of research:

a) its original one on agglomeration-focusing NEW TRADE THEORY;

b) its cooperative extension (with Fujita, Venables, etc.) on New Economic Geography – this second aspect is much more disputed. Although as regional scientists we should be happy that the Stockholm Academy looks at the field, we  counter-argue that this theory is held by a tiny minority of regional scholars (just a few neoclassical economists), and fought against by their majority: frankly speaking, this 2nd motivation was a mistake and misunderstanding at Stockholm. But the 1st one was already enough.

Our happiness is great for a bright mind and a paradigm-in-person as Paul to get it.

Here is the official motivation:

The Prize in Economic Sciences 2008

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2008 to


Paul Krugman

Princeton University, NJ, USA


“for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity”




Patterns of trade and location have always been key issues in the economic debate. What are the effects of free trade and globalization? What are the driving forces behind worldwide urbanization? Paul Krugman has formulated a new theory to answer these questions. He has thereby integrated the previously disparate research fields of international trade and economic geography.


Krugman’s approach is based on the premise that many goods and services can be produced more cheaply in long series, a concept generally known as economies of scale. Meanwhile, consumers demand a varied supply of goods. As a result, small-scale production for a local market is replaced by large-scale production for the world market, where firms with similar products compete with one another.


Traditional trade theory assumes that countries are different and explains why some countries export agricultural products whereas others export industrial goods. The new theory clarifies why worldwide trade is in fact dominated by countries which not only have similar conditions, but also trade in similar products – for instance, a country such as Sweden that both exports and imports cars. This kind of trade enables specialization and large-scale production, which result in lower prices and a greater diversity of commodities.


Economies of scale combined with reduced transport costs also help to explain why an increasingly larger share of the world population lives in cities and why similar economic activities are concentrated in the same locations. Lower transport costs can trigger a self-reinforcing process whereby a growing metropolitan population gives rise to increased large-scale production, higher real wages and a more diversified supply of goods. This, in turn, stimulates further migration to cities. Krugman’s theories have shown that the outcome of these processes can well be that regions become divided into a high-technology urbanized core and a less developed “periphery”.

Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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