12 drummers drumming

A few days ago I discussed a long article on blogging in The Economist.  It turns out that the same edition also has a shorter piece (I presume it’s one of the short lead articles, which they often develop further in the middle of the magazine.)

Here’s an excerpt:

Previous publishing revolutions, such as the advent of printing, prompted similar concerns about trivialisation and extremism. But whatever you think about the impact of blogging on political, scientific or religious debate, it is hard to argue that the internet has cheapened the global conversation about economics. On the contrary, it has improved it.

Research (by two blogging economists at the World Bank) suggests that academic papers cited by bloggers are far more likely to be downloaded. Blogging economists are regarded more highly than non-bloggers with the same publishing record. Blogs have given ideas that failed to prosper in the academic marketplace, such as the “Austrian” theory of the business cycle, another airing (see article). They have also given voice to once-obscure scholars advancing bold solutions to America’s economic funk and Europe’s self-inflicted crisis.

A good example is Scott Sumner of Bentley University, who believes that America’s Federal Reserve should promise to restore “nominal” GDP (as opposed to “real” GDP, which takes account of inflation) to its pre-crisis path.

.   .   .

The back-and-forth between bloggers resembles the informal chats, in university hallways and coffee rooms, that have always stimulated economic research, argues Paul Krugman, a Nobel-prizewinning economist who blogs at the New York Times. But moving the conversation online means that far more people can take part. Admittedly, for every lost prophet there is a crank who is simply lost. Yet despite the low barriers to entry, blogs do impose some intellectual standards. Errors of fact or logic are spotted, ridiculed and corrected. Areas of disagreement are highlighted and sometimes even narrowed. Some of the best contributors do not even have blogs of their own, serving instead as referees, leaving thoughtful comments on other people’s sites and often criss-crossing party lines.

At the top of the on-line article is this close-up of the bigger illustration provided in the longer article.

Because I’m so vain my family was curious, I asked the artist if I was supposed to be the drummer.  Yep, it’s me.  Bob Murphy and Warren Mosler are also so honored. I never expected my picture to appear twice in my favorite magazine; and in caricature no less.

It makes me feel guilty to be singled out, so here are 12 other drummers that might have been included:

David Beckworth, Niklas Blanchard, Lars Christensen, David Eagle, David Glasner, Josh Hendrickson, Robert Hetzel, Doug Irwin, Kantoos, Marcus Nunes, Nick Rowe, Bill Woolsey.  I consider Hetzel to be the most distinguished market monetarist, although because he’s at the Fed he might not be comfortable with that label.

I’m being sent so much interesting stuff that it’s hard to keep up.  I hope to do posts soon on David Eagle and William Barnett, who have sent me material that relates to market monetarism.

PS.  The artist didn’t say which drummer; I’m hoping it’s not the one on the left.

PPS.  I apologize to any market monetarists if I left your name off the list; I wanted to stay at 12 for obvious reasons.

Update: My wife says the caricature looks much better than me.



16 Responses to “12 drummers drumming”

  1. Gravatar of Jeff Holmes Jeff Holmes
    2. January 2012 at 07:29

    Yes that article is from one of the weekly “Leaders”, which are the Economist’s editorials. They are usually written with reference to another article in that edition. Here endeth the lesson.

  2. Gravatar of Stephan Stephan
    2. January 2012 at 07:31

    Must be rather embarrassing for you to read about yourself in The Economist in conjunction with cranks like us MMTer?

  3. Gravatar of Martin Martin
    2. January 2012 at 08:08

    Congrats, you should get the picture framed. For your family of course. :p

  4. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    2. January 2012 at 08:25

    I am the drummer on the left—and a flattering likeness!

  5. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    2. January 2012 at 09:18

    Scott is obviously the guy in the center. It’s the only one looking anything like him.

  6. Gravatar of Lars Christensen Lars Christensen
    2. January 2012 at 11:24

    Scott, I will be happy to drum along with you anytime…lets keep drumming!

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. January 2012 at 11:25

    Jeff. Yes, that’s right.

    Stephen, Deeply embarrassing. 🙂

    Martin, Normally I hate looking at pictures of myself. But for some reason I like this one, maybe because it’s a caricature.

    Ben, I’m sure you’re much better looking.

    Patrick, I think you are right.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. January 2012 at 11:26

    Lars, We’ll create a whole marching band.

  9. Gravatar of David Beckworth David Beckworth
    2. January 2012 at 13:08


    Great picture and well deserved. I really like the manly jaw. Like Lars said, it has been a fun ride drumming with you.

  10. Gravatar of Jeff Jeff
    2. January 2012 at 15:05

    So what are the current odds of Scott ending up in someone’s administration?

  11. Gravatar of Cameron Cameron
    2. January 2012 at 16:10

    I KNEW it! Congrats Scott. Now the only question is when you will have your first TV appearance?

  12. Gravatar of marcus nunes marcus nunes
    2. January 2012 at 17:01

    The image is classic American Revolution. Maybe the take was inspired by the scene from The Great Escape starring (among famous names) Steve MacQueen, James Garner (who plays you Scott) and Jud Taylor!

  13. Gravatar of Brandon Brandon
    3. January 2012 at 09:25

    Hi Scott,

    Congrats on your Economist appearance (in both text and caricature)! Would you consider a post (or comment) in response to the Fed’s critique of NGDP targeting as cited in the article?

    “Some (Fed) committee members worried that switching to a new targeting regime could ‘risk unmooring longer-term inflation expectations’. If inflation were allowed to rise to 5%, for example, people might regard that as permanent and set wages accordingly, even as output returned to normal. To show its mettle, the Fed would then have to restrict growth; the costs of proving its seriousness might swamp the benefits of the new regime.”


  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    3. January 2012 at 12:46

    Thanks David, You should have been in the picture too.

    Jeff, Pretty good, if Gary Johnson is elected President. otherwise .000001.

    Thanks Cameron. I was on a web TV show hosted by the WSJ.

    Thanks Marcus, But I can’t open the link.

    Brandon, Thanks. I’ve discussed that issue quite a bit in earlier posts. Wages tend to follow NGDP, not inflation. So if NGDP is on target then wages will be well-behaved. recall that NGDP is nominal income.

  15. Gravatar of Rob Rob
    3. January 2012 at 13:16

    It’s interesting, I’ve been thinking that a useful evolution of the economics blogs would be to have the most influential bloggers co-create and debate on the same blog rather than (or in addition to) cross-referencing on independent blogs. This is a pretty common sports blog model. An example I’d give is here: http://www.stuckon16.com/index.php (don’t let the URL fool you, it’s a blog about basketball). This is a private blog with some of its boards visible publically and some kept private.

    In this model, threads are started in topic areas by any of the members, and dozens of conversations occur simultaneously, which is obviously facilitated by the fact that they are all in the same place. Old topics are easily brought to date as events warrant. It could be a good way for the drummers to strike up the band.

    Just a thought.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. January 2012 at 08:38

    Rob, Great idea. I’m willing to do so.

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