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The Most Important Economic Questions For Investors

 March 29, 2012 03:16 PM


We all know that the stock market is not a futures contract on GDP, but there is a relationship.  Investors who are frightened about the economy really need some answers.

We would all like to raise the most important questions to a group of the best experts, so I invite you to help me.

The Annual Kauffman Conference

Each year I have the opportunity to mingle with a group of leading economic bloggers in a conference sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation.  Here is the mission as they describe it:

[Related -Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) Q1 Earnings Preview: Trending Towards a Double Surprise]

The Kauffman Economics Bloggers Forum brings together select economics, finance and technology bloggers for an event in Kansas City to discuss key policy issues and cutting-edge research on topics related to entrepreneurship, innovation, and growth. The aim of this conference is to foster a consensus around economic growth strategies for U.S. and global policymakers.

I have a somewhat different perspective.  I spend my entire life in an unusual world of extremely intelligent people who are specialists --- traders, academics, or business leaders with their own companies.  This makes me a skeptic on smarts.  I see it all the time.  Despite this personal background, I find the Kauffman Conference special and valuable -- well worth the time taken to attend.  Here is why:

  • The group has wonderful diversity!  It includes, to start with, people that I call economic bloggers and those who are blogging economists.  Totally different!  There are leading journalists -- Felix Salmon, Matt Yglesias, and Megan McArdle -- but that is only one interesting subset.  Kauffman has strong leadership in entrepreneurial activity, so there are many participants who represent that perspective.
  • Being together with so many people who combine intelligence, ambition, and the drive for success.  My only complaint is that the participants do not have more understanding  of each other's objectives, but I guess that comes with the territory.
  • Extended conversations with top experts --Bob McTeer, from whom I got some frank answers about the inner workings of the Fed; Donald Marron, an expert on the CBO and economic modeling; and  Dean Baker, who has tremendous economic insight as well as a D.C.

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