In times of the Internet, historical memory shrinks. Who remembers today that for almost half a century the United States of America represented the realm of enlightenment, truth and progress, while the other side of the Iron Curtain was ruled by arbitrariness, gulags and politically decreed lies? This contrast was inflated by mutual propaganda, certainly, but forced labor camps and those millions of people Stalin had sent to their deaths were bitter reality. There was so little doubt concerning this gruesome past that Solzhenitsyn’s accusations were read worldwide, that is even in Russia. When Gorbachev finally dared to say the truth, the collapse of the regime was inevitable.
During the twenties of the last century Irving Fisher was an acclaimed economist, comparable only to Paul Samuelson or Joseph Stiglitz in our time. Like virtually all economists of international repute, he tended to be wrong – indeed fundamentally so. As late as October 1929, he reassured investors with his prophecy that their money would be perfectly secure in Wall Street. A few days later the world was horrified by Black Friday. (1) Continue reading Transatlantic pundits