Steven Levitt, professor of economics at the University of Chicago and renowned author of the provocative and sometimes startling bestseller Freakonomics, told attendees at an economics leadership forum in India that there is no cause for alarm over the poor image of the global economy.
There is no reason to fear, Levitt explained, “It doesn’t feel like ‘The End’.”
“The US economy is even growing a little,” Levitt noted, referring to a two percent expansion in the last quarter.
As a matter of fact, “economies around the world have grown so much since World War Two, — unless there’s something horrific on the horizon which I don’t see — people will look back on these days as nothing more than a blip,” Levitt said.
Levitt added that, “We’re certainly not looking at something like the Great Depression.” Levitt also wrote an acclaimed sequel to Freakonomics, called SuperFreakonomics.
Proud of his nickname “rogue economist,” Levitt loves to challenge and question prevailing attitudes and assumptions about everyday life. For instance, he believes people are much too worried about terrorism.
Levitt decried the fact that governments spend enormous amounts of money combating terrorism when it is a “minor problem in the larger scheme of things.”
Car Accidents Worse Than Terror Attacks
“We can’t ignore the fact that many more people die in car crashes each year — in fact it really puts to shame (the casualty toll from) terrorist attacks.
“It is only our reaction to terrorism that is so extreme that it makes the problem look bigger than it actually is,” said Levitt.
Levitt was the recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal in 2003, an award given to the most influential economist in America under the age of 40.
First Visit to India
This was Levitt’s first visit to India and mentioned that the chaos he observed truly startled him.
“It’s amazing the country functions at all.”
“But it must be doing something right — the economy is growing like crazy,” he said, referring to the 7.5 percent forecast growth rate for the year.