Honestly, these leftists should think about what they would have done in 2007 if they actually knew the crisis was approaching. How would they move to stop it? Would they have placed more regulations on housing? Would they fire the people who promoted the crisis from their positions in academia, Wall St., the government?
I hate to defend conservative economists but this is individualist, American-style liberalism at its best. Consider these superficial passages from the review (interviewer in italics, Fama in plain text):
-The interviewer does not take the time to discuss what they might mean by a credit bubble -- they stick to terms thrown around in the popular media, such as "bubble", and completely ignore Fama's challenge to them of defining and discussing what a credit bubble is.
-The article does a lot of "that's your view?", and "this person's view is the opposite", spending little time on discerning the nuances in the arguments.
Back to the efficient markets hypothesis. You said earlier that it comes out of this episode pretty well. Others say the market may be good at pricing in a relative sense—one stock versus another—but it is very bad at setting absolute prices, the level of the market as a whole. What do you say to that?
-Much discussion of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis EMH) doesn't work at the core of why it's important to the crisis. The lesson learned from the EMH is not that the EMH fails to explain the financial crisis (Fama correctly defends this point in the interview). The lesson learned from the EMH is that most people still believe that free and unfettered financial markets are the best way to maximize efficiency. This is not a conclusion of the EMH, rather, it is one of the underlying assumptions. Essentially, belief in the assumptions of the EMH is much more broad in the sense that it implies a certain relationship between the financial and real sectors of the economy. This is not addressed in the article.
-Much of the article is obsessed with narrowing down what "Chicago diversity" is, or who holds this view and that view, etc. Fama has a lot of interesting (and 'interesting' does not mean 'correct') things to say but the interviewer doesn't press him on any of it.
When all this (the financial crisis) started, I joined the debate. Then I stepped back and said, I’m really not comfortable with my insights into what the best way of proceeding is. Let me sit back and listen to people. So I listened to all the experts, local and otherwise. After a while, I came to the conclusion that I don’t know what the best thing to do it, and I don’t think they do either. (Laughs) I don’t think there is a good prescription. So I went back and started doing my own research.
-Several of the policy proposals are worded in ridiculous ways to further portray Fama as some irrational person who doesn't understand the social and political implications of his arguments.
I simply do not see the utility in these types of interviews. The obsession of the press with pointing out the "bad guys or gals" and putting labels on them is not a productive way of stimulating debate about the issues and moving forward. Blame like this only moves things backward, leaving many pining for the days when people knew "what was going on" and could predict the crisis. Let's move forward by thinking creatively about how to solve the problems which are the consequences of how we view the economy and its relation to society.