“Radical centrists” and dead armadillos have a lot in common. They are sometimes whacked in the middle of the road. In fact, my friend and New America Foundation co-founder Michael Lind originally proposed that New America choose a mascot of an “armadillo with a yellow stripe across it.”
But there are a few others in DC who cling to the principled middle on occasion, but the perks for doing so are few. We need a new award for such non-ideological bravery.
My friend Adam Posen, Deputy Director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, wins The Washington Note‘s new “Dead Armadillo Award” for alienating people on both sides of the Atlantic simultaneously with remarks he offered to the Financial Times.
Posen riffs on America’s systemic economic health while at the same time snarling at Europe’s economic stewardship.
From the FT today:
Other participants said Europe’s greatest economic needs were to improve its university system and the efficiency of its fragmented financial markets.
Adam Posen, deputy director of the US-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, said it was “scary” that productivity in Europe was so much lower than in the US – especially given the latter economy’s manifest structural weaknesses.
“We have to accept that Europe is actually a very sick economy. If America is beating you on productivity there is something very wrong with you,” he said.
Mr Posen argued that Europe’s financial services sector had not yet reaped the full benefits of the creation of the single market, meaning capital was still being wasted. “Why are all these resources being squandered? The answer is that your financial system is lousy. The return on that money is not high enough,” he said.
Europeans shouldn’t get all in a dither. Posen isn’t always right and like this blogger plays the contrarian frequently.
Recently, Adam Posen told me that he thought that the subprime loan crisis would have a negligible economic impact and would blow over soon — though he said he was increasingly lonely among those who believe that.
— Steve Clemons