Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Yorker Summit

A full day of talking and more talking by people on a stage, it might have been boring but in fact nearly every panel was interesting, kind of like the magazine live. They do Sesame Street Live on Ice, so why not New Yorker Live at NYU?

If you were so unlucky not to have been there, I will give you a VERY BRIEF summary of what they said. While there were no new headlines (that is if you keep up with current events; I think they were afraid of giving away next week's articles), they repeated some pretty important and interesting bits, with all the men in dark suits and white shirts, it was hard to tell them apart without their name badges.

So read this and I have now saved you $350 and a day at Skirball (I love saying Skirball, much fun).

Gladwell: The market crash was not due to stupidity or lack of regulation, but to overconfidence of those in charge.

Taleb: Economists and cab drivers can predict the future with the same degree of accuracy. Bernanke should be removed, you don't give a new plane to the guy who crashed the old plane. Debt is bad.

Kuttner: Depression averted, long stagnation to come. Predicts unemployment will increase by another 1 million.

Steiner: The US has lost $11 billion in household wealth.

Klein: We've been on a hopeacoaster (a hope roller coaster). People need to stop wearing their Obama t-shirts; it's weird. The crisis will now shift from Wall Street to Washington as it becomes a Debt Crisis. The spell of Reaganomics has been broken and collective solutions are now possible.

Canada - Treat new teachers like lawyers, pay them high, work them hard and fire them if they don't succeed.

Sachs: People don't care any more or less about poverty than they ever did, it's not cyclical, they never care. We keep throwing military solutions at problems caused by poverty and wonder why they don't work. Case in point: Somalia piracy is due to extreme neglect and poverty. We abandoned all collective solutions and let Wall Street run the show.

Duflo: Poverty solutions come in fads ie building schools, dams, microfinancing, but nobody ever recounts successes and failures to build on them, they just move on to the next fad.

Reicher: Stimulus will certainly move us forward on the environment (consensus from everybody who took the stage)

Hitt: EPA will regulate pollution. They took the first step with the endangerment finding, and now they can start regulating without Congressional or any other approvals.

Woolsey: Former CIA director is now an environmentalist. 2% of electricity is produced from oil. Oil is a transportation issue. The rest is a coal issue. Quoted Thomas Friedman: "We have a policy to fill 'er up with dictators."

Dean: Obama's health care plan is the best he's seen. Against mandates.

Edwards: Obama's health care is on target. Hissed at Dean when he said she was right about mandates but he didn't support it because it's politically unfeasible.

Pickering: Wants Obama to move forward with the torture commission, not to prosecute but to learn lessons. Play chess, not checkers. Also, he's fluent in Swahili, among others.

Kilcullen: $10.2 billion has been spent on the Pakistani army since 2001. Three years ago we started bombing the Taliban in Pakistan with drones. We've killed 14 high level targets and 700 civilians. And they are now 60 miles from the capital. What is wrong with this picture? We throw military solutions at problems steeped in poverty and it never works. Obama has not radically changed Foreign Policy, but a friendlier face is important.

Hersh: We should be very afraid of what is happening in Pakistan. Watch out for his upcoming story, he will tell us why.

Want more detail and actual information? They blogged about it in depth here.

No comments: