Rarely has someone done so well predicting that the world will go so wrong. Nouriel Roubini rose to prominence for forecasting that the 2008 housing crisis would lead to a global economic meltdown, and he has been peddling a message of doom and gloom ever since. Unfortunately for all of us, he's been right.
Since the crisis hit, Roubini has consistently pushed back against the conventional wisdom that the worst is over, notably warning in 2008 that banks' losses would be measured in the trillions of dollars, when the optimists were still predicting that the crisis was limited to a narrow subsection of the financial sector. In just the past year, while others were holding out hope that President Barack Obama's stimulus package would revive the struggling job market, Roubini suggested that the United States could be heading for a dreaded double-dip recession, criticized the European bailout package to Greece as "a rip-off," and penned a provocative and widely read essay asking, "Is Capitalism Doomed?" (Answer: maybe.) A lack of "policy bullets" to address the crisis, he says, means that economists should consider the prospect of a 1930s-style Depression. "This might be the beginning of the end of the American empire," Roubini sighed, three years ago.
Muse Lady Gaga.
Stimulus or austerity? Stimulus.
America or China? China.
Arab Spring or Arab Winter? Winter.
Reading list Grand Pursuit, by Sylvia Nasar; The Future of Power, by Joseph S. Nye; The Price of Civilization, by Jeffrey Sachs.
Best idea Let's start taxing the rich more -- the Buffett Rule -- as inequality is now at 1929 levels and increasing further.
Worst idea Let's all be involved in a front-loaded fiscal austerity that will sink us in a severe recession.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been agitating for democracy in Burma for more than 20 years, 15 of which she spent in confinement. Since her latest release, in November 2010, she has refused to back down -- and after nearly 50 years of military rule, the country finally appears to be moving toward her.
Since taking over this spring, Burmese leader Thein Sein has relaxed restrictions on the media, allowed some economic liberalization, and released hundreds of political prisoners. Although the origins of this shift remain largely unclear and skeptics have their doubts, the government's actions have coincided with several recent meetings with Aung San Suu Kyi. Known to her devoted followers simply as "The Lady," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has also sought to broaden her audience this year, using the Internet to reach international supporters and -- despite government warnings -- traveling outside Yangon to spread her message in other Burmese cities.
If Burma finally throws off the junta's yoke, it will be in no small part due to The Lady's political dexterity -- and her backbone of steel.