Technocrats Do Not Like Real Time Commentary

On a number of levels, a great post from Simon Johnson from The Baseline Scenario

In Sunday’s NYT, the President is quoted as saying (at the end of the story),

“Part of the reason we don’t spend a lot of time looking at blogs is because if you haven’t looked at it very carefully, then you may be under the impression that somehow there’s a clean answer one way or another – well, you just nationalize all the banks, or you just leave them alone and they’ll be fine.”

Blogs relax previous format restrictions.  Length can vary, as can technical content.  Comments allow immediate feedback, clarification; debate is healthy for ideas.  Experts can now express a view or an endorsement immediately to a broader audience – and get pushback, as appropriate. 

And, on the President’s point, experts can now talk directly to other experts at a very detailed operational level, and the results of that conversation are now public – and again attract public content (let’s be honest: sometimes experts are way off-base and they need to be told).  This is very threatening to official technocrats, both because their monopoly on expertise crumbles and because a broader set of people become skilled at criticizing their ideas.  These technocrats would much rather have their boss read newspapers and weekly magazines.


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