From Despair.com comes this snappy new definition of economics:
In that vein let's hope the dire predictions of Dani Rodrik about the collapse of Europe and civilization as we know it are way off base… Rodrik is one of the brightest commentators around, so this is worth reading regardless of your views.
Whenever people argue that "calamity could not happen because we'd all see it and rationally respond to avoid it" it is useful to read Toynbee and others on the collapse of every other civilization. In many cases a parasitic elite rides the country into ruin. Philosopher economists, even if we can see it happening, are powerless to stop it.
Currently, a parasitic elite in our financial and government sector has created a system in which banks are too big to fail, social guarantees bail out investors and managers, the political system is paralyzed by money and ideology, and the masses in the middle class are scrambling to get their share of plunder before the crumbling edifice collapses. Where are the statesmen and women?
I am not a doom and gloom guy, but realism sometimes rears up and bites you on the fleshy part of your behind.
[Thanks to colleague Peter Smallwood for the initial link.]