STOCKHOLM – Economic Principals is on the road again, gathering information, and has very little in the way of news to report. The Nobel lectures in economic sciences, by William Nordhaus, of Yale University, and Paul Romer, of New York University, went off yesterday as scheduled. They can be viewed here and here. Each lecture is straightforward and low-key. Each describes a historic turning point, different but related, in economists’ understanding of the human situation. That makes a remarkable double feature — a fitting way to punctuate the first fifty years of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences.
As for the Swedish government, the reigning joke is, when the flying saucer lands, and the aliens say, “Take us to your leader,” the reply is going to be “Well, there’s a problem.” The ruling center-left coalition and the center-right alliance that seeks to replace it are just a single vote apart in the 349-member assembly –144 to 143 – but neither has enough seats to form a government by itself, three months after the elections. Both have refused to deal the Sweden Democrats, an obstreperous anti-immigration party that won 62 seats. A parliamentary game of chicken!