Noam Scheiber's NYT Book Review Asks Us to Imagine That Someone Using Data Had Warned of the Housing Bubble
|Tuesday, 06 November 2012 16:08|
It's best to ignore personal slights in Washington and elsewhere, but this one goes beyond my personal feelings. In a review of Nate Silver's new book, Noam Scheiber notes the effectiveness with which Silver uses data to analyze a wide range of policy issues and then tells us:
"it’s not hard to imagine Silver and his ilk one day letting the air out of an inflating housing bubble."
Yeah, right. It shouldn't be too hard to imagine since that is what some of us were trying to do from 2002 onward. The remarkable story here is that we were ignored at the time and are apparently still ignored even after the fact by people who have the credentials to write in the NYT.
There is an interesting sociology of knowledge story here. How is that history can be completely rewritten? The problem was not that people were not making the case that we had an unsustainable housing bubble. The problem was that people with authority chose to ignore the people making the case that there was a bubble. And even now they can claim that the people warning about the bubble did not exist.
This works out well for the bubble deniers since it makes it easier to claim the "who could have known?" defense. But it is not true, and it is outrageous that Scheiber could ignorantly write something like this and the NYT book editor could allow it into print.