The Irish TImes has today published a letter signed by 46 economists (organised by Brian Lucey) warning against the dangers of the NAMA process. Forty six economists can’t possibly be wrong can they? 😉
On a more serious note, one of the issues that will inevitably be raised about this is the position being taken by those economists who were offered the opportunity that didn’t sign. I suspect some will argue that they must all be in favour of NAMA.
My sense, however, is that there is no alternative groundswell of support from (non-stockbroking) economists for the govenment’s approach. Rather, many people are instinctively not petition signers, preferring to express their own views in exactly their own fashion, stressing whichever nuances they think are most important. Also, it is worth emphasising that most economists are not experts in banking and finance and some simply don’t feel comfortable signing something relating to an area outside their research specialisation.
Still, if such an alternative groundswell of support did exist, I would strong suggest that they should put forward their own piece. I know that Alan Ahearne has been pressed into action but Alan is in a difficult position because publicly disagreeing with the Minister for Finance is outside his job description. I genuinely think that a high profile alternative letter, followed up by an intensive debate about the issues raised, would be very useful.
As a final note, I’d add that the headline for the article, as always, is written by the Irish Times subeditors. As far as I can see, the article says nothing about shifting wealth to developers.