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Feels Good to be Blogging Again
For about a decade, I blogged at http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/. I started when I was a graduate student, continued during my years as an assistant professor, and then kept the blog going intermittently after I started writing professionally for Bloomberg Opinion. That blog allowed me to refine my thoughts about economics and a huge variety of other topics, develop a voice as a writer, connect with other economics writers and commentators, and of course to begin building an audience. Over the past few years, though, my blogging dwindled, as I shifted more and more of my commentary to Twitter.
It’s time to go back. I’m definitely not giving up my awesome job at Bloomberg; I love the job and the people there, and they give me a platform that I would otherwise not be able to have. My writings on economic policy will continue to be available only at Bloomberg. But there’s lots of stuff I want to write that I can’t put in those op-ed columns, and that stuff will all go here.
Mostly, this blog will replace much of the commentary that I’ve been posting on Twitter. Twitter has become a dumpster fire of contentiousness, performativity, negativity, stupidity, and misinformation, and one solution is to go back to blogging. Blogs give readers time to digest and think about ideas, without being interrupted by random shouters with little context and lots of agenda. And they allow writers to insert nuance and elaboration without being forced into a 280-character format.
What You’ll Get at This Blog
At Bloomberg Opinion, my job is to write about economic policy for a general audience, and I will continue to do that. Here at the Noahpinion blog, you’ll get:
Posts written in my “natural voice”, which is not quite professional enough for opinion columns
Longer posts delving deep into issues that can’t fit into an 800-word column
Posts that rely on photos, videos, etc.
Wonky posts about the technicalities of economic research, that are too complicated for my Bloomberg audience
Cute rabbit pics
Other fun and useful stuff
Basically, this will be very much like my old Noahpinion blog. But note that this new version is a subscription blog. Some posts will always be free, and at first most of them will be free, but eventually most will be subscriber-only! You can subscribe here:
I plan to write a couple of posts a week, but I often find myself writing more than I think I’m going to, because ideas pop into my head and I have to get them out. :-)
So…Is This an Economics Blog, or What?
When I started blogging, I wrote mostly about economics. At that time, the big issue was the Great Recession and the financial crisis, and economists were the people society turned to in order to tell them how to get out of that mess. As an angry economics grad student frustrated with the many failures of the macroeconomics field, I was well-positioned to jump right into that great debate.
The current era is different. Economists are no longer the respected experts they once were. The era when people believed that an economist was a general sage who could tell you everything from which stocks to buy to where to get lunch is over. (Ironically, this comes at a time when econ itself is becoming a much humbler, more empirical discipline.)
But more fundamentally, the type of problems the U.S. and the world are facing are no longer so clearly economic in nature. Since at least 2014, America has been wracked by social unrest, and purely economic explanations for that unrest have been rightfully laughed off the stage. Cultural changes related to religion, gender, education, etc. have accelerated, powered by social media. The rise of China has brought great-power geopolitics back into the mix. There’s simply a lot of stuff to think about beyond minimum wages and fiscal stimulus.
Yet economics is still important. Things like inequality, mobility, health care, housing, wage growth, etc. interact with all the cultural changes in complex and subtle ways that can’t be glibly summed up as “economic anxiety”. The rise of a new socialist movement in America has centered economic issues and injected new ideas (and some old ideas) into the debate in a way that has energized huge numbers of young people. Geopolitics, too, depends on economics — the economics of trade, supply chains, industrial policy, international finance, growth, and so on.
Economics is just one way of thinking about society, and it can’t be the only one. I want to try to understand the world using a mix of the things I learned from economics and the things I’ve learned from other fields and disciplines. Not to mention a few things I’ve thought of myself. ;-)
If that’s the kind of thing you want to read, then this blog is for you. Welcome, and great to have you along for the ride.