Our students had an intense week. On Thursday and Friday, Simon Johnson (former chief economist of the IMF, now at MIT-Sloan and baselinescenario.com) taught our students about his work on the importance of institutions as a prime determinant of economic performance. Having spent much of his career looking at crises in Russia, Korea, and Malaysia, he has now moved his research location to crisis central - Washington DC (while still teaching at MIT-Sloan). He gradually led up to the thesis for which he has become famous: that the US is starting to look like an emerging market economy in terms of close ties between the financial and political elite. You can watch a brilliantly funny summary of his views [which he played for the students] over at ColbertNation. You can read a less light-hearted summary of his views in "Quiet Coup", detailing how the financial elite has taken over the US government, at the Atlantic Monthly. I don't often sit in colleagues' classes, but this one I just had to see. Perhaps it's something to do with the fact that nowadays, I get to decide who to invite, but I don't remember enjoying classes this much when I was a student.
I am Joachim Voth, formerly the director of the M.Sc. in International Trade, Finance and Development (ITFD) at UPF-BGSE (and now a member of the steering committee). This blog will keep current and prospective students updated with news and reflections. I'll also try to give people a taste of what (intellectual) life is like down here by the Med.