FREAK-TV: Was Alan Greenspan Just Lucky?

Video

For the past couple of months, we’ve been regularly posting short FREAK-TV videos, made by resident young genius Nick Graham, in a box on the right-hand column of our home page. The problem was that the video itself couldn’t be housed within a blog post, so you had to scramble over to the right-hand column to watch the video and then scramble back here to the blog to comment or read further.

That problem is a thing of the past. Now, thanks to superior minds at NYTimes.com and Feedroom, videos can reside right here in a blog post.

Our latest video has Levitt talking about how hard it is for economists to make macroeconomic predictions. I hope everyone in the world watches this video, if only because I, even as a non-economist, am asked about five times a day about the future of interest rates, the stock market, or the price of pork bellies.

In the video, Levitt goes so far as to wonder if Alan Greenspan, everyone’s favorite economic guru, was in fact more lucky than great. FWIW, it looks like an earlier prediction that Levitt made about Greenspan may indeed come true. In a blog post last month about the release of Greenspan’s book, Levitt noted that the publisher announced a print run of 1 million copies. “I predict that 30 percent of that initial printing of books will never be sold,” he wrote.

What do the numbers say? According to sales data from Bookscan, which is thought to represent 70 to 80 percent of U.S. sales, Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence has sold about 285,000 copies since its release, but sold only 23,000 last week. Which means that it came out of the gate huge, as would be expected for a book of this sort with massive media exposure, but it will have to hang around for a few months at the current rate of sale to hit even 700,000 copies.

Finally: you can now access all our earlier videos, within the blog, by clicking on the FREAK-TV tag.

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  1. mgroves says:

    I continue to enjoy being confused by the random stock footage in these videos.

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  2. mgroves says:

    I continue to enjoy being confused by the random stock footage in these videos.

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  3. zoe says:

    I wouldn’t call Greenspan lucky so much as incredibly cautious.

    As for his book… throwing a few adjectives in there wouldn’t have hurt matters any. It was about the most dispassionate memoir I’ve ever read.

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  4. zoe says:

    I wouldn’t call Greenspan lucky so much as incredibly cautious.

    As for his book… throwing a few adjectives in there wouldn’t have hurt matters any. It was about the most dispassionate memoir I’ve ever read.

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  5. omodudu says:

    This videos can not be embedded, too bad I can not share this wth my readers.

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  6. omodudu says:

    This videos can not be embedded, too bad I can not share this wth my readers.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  7. Freddie says:

    I don’t think I would call Alan Greenspan lucky, since that implies there was no real effort involve in his predictions. I would say he had a job to do and he did it well. Is it repeatable for the next guy? Maybe. Maybe not… but then time does not roll backwards so what was predictable in the Greenspan years won’t look the same for the next guy.

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  8. Freddie says:

    I don’t think I would call Alan Greenspan lucky, since that implies there was no real effort involve in his predictions. I would say he had a job to do and he did it well. Is it repeatable for the next guy? Maybe. Maybe not… but then time does not roll backwards so what was predictable in the Greenspan years won’t look the same for the next guy.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0