Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A passionate view

There is one thing I'd like to add to the previous post, not an extremely important thing for those who like "pure" economic arguments, but a significant thing for those who like to look beyond numbers.

In the previous post, I only highlighted the gist of Avinash Persaud's article, not the flavour. I mean, he wrote the article in a personal way, with a personal voice, and I not only like that but also think it is significant when you make an argument. Let me illustrate my point by quoting the first paragraph of Avinash’s article:

"Flash back 10 years to May 1998. The Asian financial crisis is unfolding. I am sitting on the J.P. Morgan dealing floor in Singapore. My trip to Jakarta has been cancelled because of rioting. Students have been killed and women raped. Regional currencies are in free fall. Local equity markets are imploding. Credit-rating agencies are 'helpfully' responding by slashing credit ratings. The region's vaunted political and economic stability is collapsing before my eyes. On the Morgan dealing floor, we can't tear ourselves away from the electronic screens transmitting the bloodbath tick by tick. I feel the primordial pull and guilt of passersby to get a closer look at a ghoulish car accident."

In my view, writing style is more than style. It reveals emotions. Thinking about (financial) globalisation requires a passionate and a dispassionate view. The one without the other reduces economics to either numbers – in the case of a purely dispassionate view – or emotions.

Economics is not about numbers but about people. In another post, I'll say something about the need for a passionate view.

The photograph of the man on his chair comes from "U.S. Camera 1939", Edited by T.J. Maloney, and published by William Morrow & Company, New York.

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