Why the ‘Experts’ Failed to See How Financial Fraud Collapsed the Economy
By James K. Galbraith, AlterNet
Posted on May 15, 2010, Printed on May 15, 2010
Editor’s Note: The following is the text of a James K. Galbraith’s written statement to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee delivered this May.
Chairman Specter, Ranking Member Graham, Members of the Subcommittee, as a former member of the congressional staff it is a pleasure to submit this statement for your record.
I write to you from a disgraced profession. Economic theory, as widely taught since the 1980s, failed miserably to understand the forces behind the financial crisis. Concepts including “rational expectations,” “market discipline,” and the “efficient markets hypothesis” led economists to argue that speculation would stabilize prices, that sellers would act to protect their reputations, that caveat emptor could be relied on, and that widespread fraud therefore could not occur. Not all economists believed this – but most did.