Brad Setser

Brad Setser: Follow the Money

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All great things have to end

by Brad Setser
August 4, 2009

This will be my last blog post, at least for the foreseeable future.

I have accepted a new job, one that will require a certain level of discretion. I am excited by its challenges: ‘Balanced and sustainable” growth is something that I believe in. But suspending this blog is still hard.

I started blogging almost five years ago, back when blogging felt new and the barriers to entry were much lower. I was also lucky: first Nouriel Roubini and RGE and then the CFR were willing to pay me to, at least in part, write a niche blog on global imbalances and global capital flows. The CFR in general – and Richard Haass and Sebastian Mallaby in particular – took a risk (a calculated risk?) that I could maintain a blog with open comments that could live up to the standards of the Council on Foreign Relations.

I started writing a blog almost by default. There wasn’t an obvious source of demand for the kind of work that I wanted to do. My interests were too grounded in current events to fit well with academia, as I neither am a true economist nor a true political scientist. And I was too interested in policy issues to match, consistently, the interests of the market — especially as I am a bit better at seeing risks than opportunities. No private bank keeps a specialist on the TIC data on their payroll.

Plus writing a blog gave me the freedom to write what I wanted when I wanted – and on occasion to work from where I wanted to work.

Over time, I devoted more time to the blog and less to more academic publications than I should have. Blog posts “decay” faster than academic papers. At the same time, all my short-term incentives worked the other way: this blog’s traffic was never was all that high, but it still attracted more readers in an average week than have bought the book I wrote together with Dr. Roubini – and more readers than downloaded the paper I wrote exploring the strategic consequences of relying on foreign governments for financing.

Moreover, there is no other way that my work would have come to the attention of a Nobel Laureate in economics, Berkeley’s economics department (or at least parts of it), a tenured professor of political science, the World Bank’s Beijing office, parts of Deutsche Bank’s research group and the economic quants over at Econbrowser. Or, among many others, an experienced bond market hand, a London-based currency trader, a Beijing-based emerging markets guru, an informed critic of the financial sector and a former professional Fedwatcher turned amateur Fedwatcher.* And a host of financial journalists around the world. The ability to try to hash out, in real time, crucial questions with true experts is the great advantage of the web.

This blog also had the unexpected virtue of making my work accessible to my parents, and convincing them – scientists both – that I did some real work, at least on occasion.**

A few commentators here have been around for a long-time; you will be missed. The comments section even helped to spawn a few blogs. And I suspect that I may have been among the first to recognize that Felix Salmon would make an even better blogger than journalist.

Fundamentally this blog was about an issue – the United States’ trade deficit, the offsetting trade surpluses in other parts of the world and the capital flows that made this sustained “imbalance” possible. Most of my early blog posts argued, in one way or another, that taking on external debt to finance a housing and consumption boom wasn’t the best of ideas. Even if (or especially if) the deficit was financed by governments rather than private markets.

I always intended to write extensively about the world’s emerging markets. I never anticipated that I would end up writing most frequently about an emerging economy that I hardly knew when I first started writing this blog: China. Back in 2004, I was an expert on sovereign debt, not sovereign wealth. But some stories seize you. And China’s rise as a global creditor was just that story. I never thought China’s government would ever add close to $800 billion to its foreign assets over four quarters — accumulate close to $2,500 billion in foreign assets. China has stretched all definitions of the possible. There is – understandably – an enormous amount of interest in the consequences of a world where China is the world’s key creditor country; that, more than anything, seemed to drive this blog’s traffic.

I hope I did not stray too far from my initial vision – which was to write a blog that positioned the United States’ economy squarely in the global economy. Yet an international focus didn’t imply cheer-leading for all aspects of the contemporary global financial system. I never quite accepted that a world where the governments of poor countries finance some of the world’s wealthiest consumers really made all that much sense.

Above all, thanks to all who visited regularly, left comments, sent emails, linked here, recommended this blog or called me up to discuss something that they read here – and to those who helped find data, helped prepare graphs*** and filled in when I took a bit of time off. You all combined to make leaving this electronic space hard.

*I never managed to link to John Hempton or Antonia Fatas and Ilian Mihov– to name just two examples — quite as much as I intended. Hempton’s post on how banks fund current account deficits is a classic. And if I had kept blogging, I suspect I would have ended up linking to the IMF’s new blog rather frequently.
** It also confirmed my mother’s sense that I cannot spell.
*** The Council on Foreign Relations Center for Geoeconomic Studies will continue to track some of the variables that I have been following; bookmark “Geographics.”

199 Comments

  • Posted by don

    Sorry to hear this. You will be missed.

  • Posted by johnb

    i hope you will return to blogging one day
    wish you only the bes

  • Posted by Dave

    Brad, thanks for all the good work. Let’s hope people in Washington listen to what you have to say!

  • Posted by jck

    Always enjoyed reading you, you will be missed.
    Best.
    jck

  • Posted by Macro Man

    Congratulations on the new role, Brad, though I (and many others, I suspect) will be sad to see the end of your blogging efforts. Your work has been an invaluable resource to me and many others in the private sector, and it will be missed. Many thanks for our occasional correspondence over the past few years, and I do hope that you’ll stay in touch off line.

    MM

    P.S. Tell Barry to give Voldemort hell!

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    This is quite a shock. But not totally unexpected, I guess.

    Congrates are in order! But it will be like having an eye knocked out.

    Say hello to the Men in Black for for me!

  • Posted by Secret Admirer

    Good luck to you! I enjoyed reading your posts, thank you so much for sharing your insights.

  • Posted by MikeG

    You will be missed. Your insightful commentary will be missed, especially as a counter to the fiction-filled blogosphere and punditry-class. Thanks for everything.

  • Posted by Bill

    Brad,

    Who takes over operations now that you’re leaving?

    Bill

  • Posted by Bill

    Oh, and I have to second MM’s thanks. You’ve done a marvelous job in bringing some useful stuff out to the rest of us lay folk. Your work seemed to be extremely highly regarded within the blogosphere, and I always made your posts a must read.

    Thanks!

  • Posted by First-time responder

    Congrats, and I for one hope that your voice will be heard in the Adminstration – if only to ensure a better future for us all.

  • Posted by But What do I Know?

    Best of luck–hope you can speak truth to power. Your blog has been great and unique source of information. Any suggestions on where to look for data now?

    Thanks for all the hard work.

  • Posted by peter Schaeffer

    Mr. Setser,

    Of course, you will be sorely missed and welcomed back should you ever return to blogging.

    I hope you will have the opportunity to apply your considerable economics / trade expertise over at the NEC. My sense of it, is that the issue you originally intended to focus on

    “the United States’ trade deficit, the offsetting trade surpluses in other parts of the world and the capital flows that made this sustained “imbalance” possible.”

    isn’t going to go away and that the U.S. will be struggling to find a viable (sustainable) place in the world economy for a long time to come.

  • Posted by Samuel Conner

    Godspeed to you, Dr. Setser. We need minds like yours to influence public policy.

  • Posted by AHBM

    This blog was a remarkable resource! So sorry to see it end (you go). Alas, the greater good beckons…good luck at the WH.

  • Posted by Economic Darwinism

    Best of luck! You will be sorely missed. I have not been a commenter, but have read with interest every invaluable article for the past two years.

  • Posted by RebelEconomist

    Your blog introduced me to blogging as it was essential reading for anyone with an interest in foreign exchange reserves. I shall miss the information, analysis and discussions here, from which I learned a lot, but congratulate you on a good move. Thanks Brad, and best wishes.

  • Posted by STS

    Congratulations! I hope you’re at least half as good at the NEC job as you’ve been at blogging. We’re all counting on you.

  • Posted by otto

    Brad,

    You deserve your all success in the new job and I wish you the best. The US admin has just seen a net rise the quality of its staff.

    But oh my, you will be sorely missed out here.

    Godspeed.

  • Posted by Glen M

    Knowing where you are going makes me feel better about future policy decisions. If you could only take Ralph Gomory, Peter Morici and Michael Pettis with you, wishful thinking.

    Best of luck and thanks!

  • Posted by David

    Brad –

    I want to say that I am sad to see this blog go. It has been one of my favorites. I just graduated with my economics degree from one of the University of California schools, and I’ve been very interested in international economics. Thanks for providing so much detail and nuance, things that I believe are lacking in the public discourse. My friends would always call me crazy when they saw me reading your blog and others like it.

    Although I’m sad to see this go, I’m glad you’re moving over to the administration. I wish you the best of luck, and hope you return to blogging one day.

  • Posted by AndrewBW

    Very sorry to see you moving on. Your work has been intelligent and informative. I hope you’ll consider returning to blogging once the new job ends; there’s always room for intelligent analysis. In the meantime, best of luck!

  • Posted by Matt

    best fortunes to you. we’re all better off for having had the chance to learn from you.

  • Posted by DR

    Damn….sorry to see you go. Loved reading your posts as I assumed no paid political agenda behind them. Best wishes in your new agenda!

  • Posted by DR

    Your not replacing Bernanke are you?

    Seriously, where does one turn to for summarized information on international data flows now that you are leaving?

  • Posted by dma

    Good luck with the new job and will definitely miss your insightful blogs on the global economy, China in particular.

  • Posted by jkh

    You’re not in Kansas anymore.

    Best wishes.

  • Posted by Hatter

    Yours was the first blog I ever read, back in 2006; it was the blog that introduced me to what a blog is (I was researching Korean trade data at the time). You’ve stayed at the top of my fav list ever since. I’m going to miss this blog very much. Thank you for your dedication.

  • Posted by Manc Trader

    Good luck Brad. I have been reading this blog for several years and will miss it a lot.

  • Posted by Humphrey

    Brad,

    Thanks for the wonderful education. Have loved reading your blog. It is one of my faves.

    Good luck, and once again, thank you for the chance to have learnt so much from you.

    H

  • Posted by asdf

    yep, I will also miss this blog, although I (nearly) never commented. You and Pettis gave me a pretty good understanding of what’s going on and what might happen in the future. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts and good luck!

  • Posted by John Hempton

    Brad – thanks for the kind words – and I have linked you not enough either.

    Please send an email through the blog… you have the email address…

    And if you are ever in Sydney – particularly in our Summer – drop by.

    J

  • Posted by glory

    um, like if orszag has a blog… no comments tho :(

    anyway, congrats!

  • Posted by Michael

    Brad,

    Your departure leaves a gaping hole: there just isn’t anyone else providing as much useful information to the general public and analyzing it in such a balanced and competent manner.

    Thanks for all you have done for us.

  • Posted by sackerson

    Very good luck to you.

  • Posted by MCS

    Brad,

    Thanks for a fabulous blog! It was fascinating to have the curtain lifted on international money traffic. Best of luck in your new job.

    MCS

  • Posted by ottnott

    Thank you for your contributions to our understanding of an important topic area.

    I’m sorry that your blogging will end, but pleased that the blogging ended up benefiting both you and your readers.

    My thanks also to the many informed commenters. I have no background in the topics discussed here, and the commenters (along with Brad’s responses) often helped me understand the entries that I couldn’t grasp on my own.

  • Posted by eparisi

    Good luck to you, Brad, and all the Best!

  • Posted by trainwreckspotting

    Brad,

    sad to see you go, best luck for your new job!

    I’ve been lurking here for quite a few months, always found trustworthy and interesting lecture, which is rare out here.

  • Posted by t

    Gutted! You are irreplaceable.

    But best of luck with the new job and congratulations.

  • Posted by Pax Americana

    Congratulations Brad, have been a reader of your work for some considerable time, and have only recently posted on here some comments feel a bit sick about you leaving,but all things are in constant flux, and i am sure you felt you needed a new challenge.

  • Posted by BakoEcon

    Good luck with the new gig Brad. You and your data will be sorely missed.

    Lurker since 2005

  • Posted by Ranger Turtle

    Many thanks!

    It’s going to be difficult to determine China’s REAL economic situation.

    The National Economic Council is lucky to get you!
    RT

  • Posted by FormerlyknownasJS

    Brad,

    I haven’t commented for some time, but have been an avid reader of your blog since near its inception. Thank you for all the persistent hard work you put into an amazing blog. Your efforts have been invaluable and tremendously educational. You will be missed.

    Congrats on the new job, and best of luck!

  • Posted by Imapopulistnow

    You have been the most kind in responding to comments even when they were not necessarily of the caliber or sophistication of economic professionals. You are a class act. I wish you well in all of your future endeavors.

  • Posted by FollowTheMoney

    Brad-

    Congrats! takes me by no surprise, it’s actually awkward i had a strong indicator that this one would happen before the start of summer. one promise you have to keep is to partner with Goolsbee and influence the ole Chicago school of Free-market, let the markets work approach.

    we dont care about abortion, we don’t care about religion, but we do care about free trade and free markets (put the Columbia free trade agreement in the bag, we’ll send you a thank you card…).

    It was truly a pleasure to listen, learn and interpret your input.

    Best of luck.

  • Posted by David Pearson

    Brad,

    Congratulations! I am glad to see the Administration take on an original thinker like you. Good luck to you.

  • Posted by Gregor Neumann

    Brad,

    my first – utterly selfish – thought was “He can’t do that. Not on such a short notice.”

    My more gown up response: Thanks for everything! I’ll miss your insight.

    All the best for your next step.

  • Posted by Mari

    Congratulations Dr. Setser. I expected this – though not at NEC but at Treasury. Good Luck.

  • Posted by Ned Baker

    I’m in shock. Your excellent, level headed analysis will be missed. You truly performed a service to the interested general public (me) and stimulated a valuable dialog among the experts (not me). Best of luck in your new post — I’m grateful that the President will have your voice in his ear.

  • Posted by psh

    Most auspicious – untainted merit in the EOP. Good luck.

  • Posted by HZ

    Congratulations on the new job! Thanks for sharing your work and insights. I will miss the blog.

  • Posted by moruobai

    Brad,

    “All great things have to end,” I swear I read this post’s title on CR’s blog and thought for sure you were going to argue that the US’s dirt cheap financing of its current account was over! You can imagine my surprise!

    I started reading your blog back when you were on Roubini’s site. Followed you here and have rarely missed a post since.

    Brilliant stuff you have presented here. I’m terribly disappointed to see you go. Not sure where I will get my US/China BOP information anymore… But, everything that has a beginning has an end. Beware the dark side. Stay away from the Fed kool-aid. Best of luck,

    Moruobai

  • Posted by Qingdao

    Congratulations; and guard that candid, honest streak in an institution of sharp elbows.

  • Posted by RTM

    Just wanted to say thanks for your excellent blog, I’m very sorry to see you go.

  • Posted by silly things

    I’d like to sincerely thank you. Your analysis are excellent. Reading your work allowed me to learned a lot about a complex subject that I don’t readily have direct access to. I don’t know of any other blog that covers the subject matter covered on this blog as well as you!

    By the way, can you twist Mark Dow’s arms to blog more regularly?

    Best wishes! I sincerely hope you’ll be blogging again soon!

  • Posted by Rich

    Thank you for producing this blog. I’ve learned a lot from it. Best wishes.

  • Posted by Ethan

    I’d say goodbye, but judging from what I’ve witnessed from the Obama admin I give you one year before you quit in frustration.

    But hope springs eternal.

    Good luck! Enjoyed the blog!

  • Posted by David Weman

    I too am glad for you, but will miss you terribly. Apart from the obvious things, you’re am excellent writer, and seem like a really nice guy, with the perfect temparament for a blogger.

  • Posted by D Gross

    Good luck!

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog- you supported your arguments/insights with evidence and kept things topical , succinct and interesting. Thank you.

    Seems like a very good group over at the NEC. Maybe working as an advisor to politicians has some similarity to blogging or publishing in academia- you can never be sure whether your contribution will have an impact. End of the day you contribute because you like to. Have fun

  • Posted by John McLeod

    You’ll certainly be missed. I hope someone else mainstream picks up your habit of examining the H.4.1 updates for us.

  • Posted by nbunks

    Dr Setser,

    I just wanted to thank you for your blog. I’ve been an avid reader for the past year and your posts have been a great supplement to the classes I’ve been taking. I literally yelled “NO!” when I read your first sentence, but the whole country will be better off with you working in government. Thank you again

  • Posted by Andrew Meyer

    I’m sorry to see you stop blogging. I learned a lot from your blog and enjoyed reading it. I wish you the very best in your new opportunity.

    Thanks,

    Andy

  • Posted by KnotRP

    Hey…nice going…they can’t offshore/outsource that job, eh? (I kid)

    You can’t write anymore, but you could still receive comments…would be a pity if you didn’t now that you get inject some reality directly into the washington bubble.

    Seriously, though: good luck, and try not to feed the sharks any important body parts.

  • Posted by Jian Feng

    You will be back. Biting your tongue is such an unnatural habit. Do not underestimate the need to talk; we are social animals. Hope you enjoy your proximity to power.

  • Posted by jonathan

    AAAAAAAAGGGHHHH!!!

    Well, congratulations and best of luck to you.

    But still, aaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!!!

  • Posted by Nick

    Thanks for all the in-depth info over the years; I can’t claim that I understood all of it, but I can attest to the fact that you seem to, and that it seems better for the country (world?) to have more accurate economic information freely available. It’s a shame to see you [partially] sucked into the vortex of distortion and misinformation which typifies the government, but hopefully your contributions will have a positive impact.

    Good luck, and good wishes. :)

  • Posted by Quarrel

    Brad,

    Thanks for all the hardwork and insightful commentary. Good luck in the new job. The econosphere will miss you. Come back when you can !

    Have much enjoyed your blog for many many years.

    –Q

  • Posted by DOR

    Mr Setser,
    You were always quick to point out that you didn’t have a doctorate and weren’t a professor, but I think you’ve earned both titles.

    Best of luck, and thanks for some great brain stretching.
    David O’Rear
    Hong Kong

    PS: I’ll never forget ____ Please add 0 and 0

  • Posted by Roy McPhail

    You are an inspiration.

  • Posted by MMcC

    Damn – my boss won the office pool by betting you’d be a summer appointment (I bet on first 90 days…) Best of luck at the NEC; I’ll be finding a new first thing to read in the morning.

    MPM

  • Posted by Alan Murdock

    Thanks for all your efforts here and best luck at the new gig.

  • Posted by Rahul Deodhar

    We will miss the insightful analysis.

    Wish you the very best in your new role.

    Godspeed-

  • Posted by guest

    The content of your blog was a good testimony that impartiality togather with intelligence, could survive within a very difficult environment.
    Wherever you go is proving that those qualities are still of interest.
    Do not miss the banks they always shape a spartian in satrap

  • Posted by Nicholas Andersen

    Good luck! Thanks for all the work you put into this blog!

  • Posted by Howard Perry

    Just want to second jonathan’s (e)motion: aaarrrggghhh!! All great things do not have to end! Thank you for your willingness to share and edify us with your expertise. The very best of luck in your new role. p.s. “Talk like a Pirate Day” is Sept 19th. Jonathan sounds like he’s prepared.

  • Posted by Guillaume Nolin

    Good luck to you Brad, you were the best international economics blogger and I am glad you will have your voice heard at the highest levels of power. Serve your country well, we are behind you.

  • Posted by Adam

    Congratulations on the new job. Your insight and ability to make me actually read–not just skim, link, or glance but read–thoughtful analysis will be sorely missed.

  • Posted by greg

    I’ve only started to read your blog since last December, but it’s one of the few that I read on daily basis. You will be sorely missed.

    But, congratulations on the new job.

  • Posted by CJinCA

    In this blog, and the one at RGE, you have covered an important, compelling, yet complex topic in a thoughtful, evenhanded, and accessible way. I think I speak for many that do not post comments in saying that we will miss you.

    Best wishes in your new gig!

  • Posted by locococo

    Holly doo-doo. You re truly the one Asset these guys did not deserve. Hope you stay a Liability throughout their IQ crunch…

    Yes, you will be missed.

  • Posted by Charles

    Brad, this has been a great site. All praise to you for maintaining a high level of discourse in the face of a certain amount of harassment.

    Keep the Goldman guys in line, ok?

  • Posted by Zhongcai

    thanks! will miss you

  • Posted by Man

    Thanks Brad. I learn so much from you. Good luck to your new position.

  • Posted by Reinumag

    It was an enjoyable journey. Godspeed!

  • Posted by geert

    Brad, congratulations on your new job.
    That “balanced and sustainable growth” task will be quite a challenge nowadays.

    Thanks a lot for all the good and hard work here!

    geert

  • Posted by adiemuso

    All the best! It had been a wondeful journey with you since your RGE days! Take care.

  • Posted by Rien Huizer

    Good for you, Brad, but will miss your posts. Will anyone be able to fill your shoes?

  • Posted by Elliott Ng

    You will be sorely missed, Brad. Thanks for your contribution to the topic of global imbalances and the rise of China’s current account surplus.

  • Posted by a

    Thanks for your blogs, and good luck in your new job.

  • Posted by Albatross

    All the best, Brad.

    I, along with many on this board, learned a lot from reading you on trade dynamics, especially on China.

    I truly hope you would have the positive impact on NEC and on the country’s economic policies going forward.

    A.

    Istanbul

  • Posted by Robert in Perth, Australia

    It was Winston Churchill who said:

    We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

    Apt words

  • Posted by Aniket Kanade

    Brad,
    This is my first and last comment on this blog. Reading you blog was indeed a great learning experience. Your analysis and insights will be missed.

    Thanks so much,
    Aniket

  • Posted by David Domingues

    Dear Brad,

    You have done a true public service with this blog. Let us hope that your skills in Washington are not put to waste, but fully used.
    The US needs good policymaking which can be done if people like you are heard and their knowledge put in the necessary steps towards a more sustained and balanced economy in the US and the global economy.
    Best of luck.

    David Domingues

  • Posted by Hans Suter

    thank you for your service and best wishes for your future

  • Posted by Indian Investor

    Dr. Setser, I’m sad to see your blog go. Wish you all the best for your new career at NEC. Losing touch with the content on your blog is a negative for a lot of people’s intellectual development. What if you tell the NEC mandarins that you’ll make blog posts with discretion – and they can read what you write in their free time and make sure that the discretion is there?
    Are NEC people allowed to go and post comments anonymously on other blogs? For example we can start a CIA-style dummy blog where somebody will make posts about some related topic or other – then you could go and post your blog posts as anonymous comments with or without discretion. That way the feast of reason and flow of soul can be kept alive. Is it possible to share an Email ID, or some other internet contact details where people can Email you with some information and views, etc?
    Let’s all watch with considerable interest whether President Obama’s reckless audacity and blind hope gets metered by the Dr. Setser balance of payments graphs showing the unsustainability of fighting expensive foreign campaigns all around the world.

  • Posted by SC

    Brad, rarely posted in the comments section but have enjoyed and been educated by your up to date analysis and writing. This blog will be missed. Good look at the NEC.

  • Posted by Carlo

    An exceptional blog, litterally. The first eco/fin blog I started reading, many years ago, still top of my (very very short) list. I learned a lot.
    From Europe we understand that a guy like you is very needed in Washington today, pity.
    Thank you so much for all your work, I am going to miss it.
    Lots of data, little comments, a style that few can challenge. Not common.
    Carlo

    2 notes:
    * please make sure if you write something that people on the web can find it
    * any hope that all your past posts will remain on the web so that we can always go back and read them

  • Posted by canablach

    It has been a GREAT job, you will be missed.
    Please, let news of your future trickle down here or wherever else you will be.
    My truly best wishes,

  • Posted by Michael Cho

    Brad, thank you so much for your prolific work here. I’ve learned much about how the world really works from your blog. Appreciate your efforts and all the best with your new job!

    peace (from Singapore),
    Michael Cho

  • Posted by MarcoPolo

    I’m so sorry to see you go. Though, of course, I wish you the best and hope you will be as successful in your next endeavor as you have been as a blogger. You’ve broken new ground as a blogger. You’ve been instrumental in establishing it as a serious intellectual pursuit. And you lead the world in your understanding of international capital flows. I have learned so much from you. Thanks.

  • Posted by yoda

    i see fall in dollar as greater economic justice and greater good for USA and globally. fall in dollar is the ultimate economic norm that should be un-manipulated.

    “he Treasury’s borrowing needs have been exploding and the auctions are getting progressively weaker. This presents a serious problem for the dollar. Once 78 on the USDX is broken the index should freefall. We expect the government will staunchly defend 78, but will lose the battle probably in October or at least by the end of the year. As a result you will see more bonds being issued in foreign currencies such as the yen, yuan and euro bonds. Wal-Mart just issued $1 billion in Samarai bonds in yen. Issuance of foreign currency denominated bonds by corporations and eventually by the US Treasury will signal that the day of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency will be coming to an end. Lenders will want to get repaid in a currency they know will have future value. This kind of issuance puts more and more pressure on the dollar. Issuance of bonds in a foreign currency will be a clarion call that dollar hegemony is ending. The result will be other currencies will gain in strength versus the dollar, but the flip side is that they are all fiat currencies and all will fall versus gold.–Bob Chapman 08/01/09″

  • Posted by jimspassion

    Thank-you Brad

  • Posted by crgordon

    Keep your thinking independent – much needed where you are going. And thank you for your decision to serve the country.

  • Posted by longTimeReader

    Brad, you blog has been outstanding and has been cited extensively inside a major Belgian financial institution’s macroeconomic research.

    Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. All the best to you in your new position!

  • Posted by Mattias

    You will be missed Brad. Your blog has been a incredibly valuable read for young starting researchers (as me) working on the global imbalances. Good luck with your new job!

  • Posted by Michael Carroll

    Thank you Brad.

    You have been a real pillar in our intellectual world here and should be honored for your patience and dedication in dealing with your audience. Good luck.

  • Posted by Brian Shriver

    You have made a somewhat arcane topic accessible and fascinating for a large audience (including me). Thank you!

  • Posted by bsetser

    many many thanks for all the kind words. i cannot respond individually but i really appreciate them. the cfr plans to host other blogs by other fellows, but this was very much my blog and reflected my particular interests, so there isn’t a plan to keep this particular blog up to date. it will remain available as a resource — but there won’t be new posts. at least that is the current plan.

    I will certainly encourage Mark Dow to continue to post elsewhere — and i would bet that Rachel Ziemba of RGE will start to post more regularly on the TIC data and the like over at RGE’s website. And perhaps some financial institutions will start to make more extensive use of the TIC data (and start to adjust it to provide a better read on official flows) …

  • Posted by Twofish

    Congrats

  • Posted by Michael Moran

    Brad:
    We’re all excited for you here on Varick Street. As someone who worked with you in both of your recent stops, I’d like to say how much we’ll miss you – but also that your influence may well be more effect on the inside right now.
    -Moran

  • Posted by NegativeConvexity

    Brad,

    Thanks for all the hardwork put into this blog. Always compelling, always stimulating.

    One question put to the core contingent of commenters whom i greatly enjoyed reading as well (KT Cat, Cedric Regula, Gillies, Yoda, Twofish, etc…): where is the collective diaspora going to settle, so that i may continue to follow..

  • Posted by Joe K

    Thanks so much for your efforts over the past few years and all the best on your new role.

    You might have thought of this blog’s focus as a niche when you started, but events in the past few years have clearly shown its massive importance to the workings of the global economy and how very few people, like yourself, are clear thinking enough to understand and elucidate the dynamics.

    You will be sorely missed but I suspect your insights will be invaluable in DC as the truly hard work to move toward a more stable and less financially dependent world economy bumps along it’s rocky road.

  • Posted by glory

    oh, also, i hope you’re “proud to be a brick in the statistical building of the republic:P

    cheers!

  • Posted by Indian Investor

    Apart from the obvious acknowledgement to Brad for his work at this blog i wanted to recollect and acknowledge some of the interesting ideas put forward by others – though it is impossible to do justice to contributions from so many people on so many topics. Twofish – for his explanation that cash is just a number in a bank’s accounting book, reflected as an electronic record. Cedric – for his explanation that the US Treasury took something like $5 trillion from people’s social security money and now that is reflected as “intra governmental holdings” of Treasury debt.WStroupe – for his detailing of the geopolitical considerations behind the capital flows.Gillies – for explaining the Irish impact, Irish examples and Irish analogies of everything discussed at this blog.Yoda – for re phrasing complex issues with often picturesque, easy expressions – such as the above ‘fall in dollar’. And last, but not least important – DJC – for his many quoted paragraphs from various sources against continued US imperial overstretch.
    Most of all, Brad’s patience with sharp reactions and diverse international opinions on his conclusions contributed a lot to the free exchange of views at this blog.

  • Posted by Ian

    Congratulations, Brad, and thanks for all the great work. While I’ll sorely miss this extraordinary blog – long my first and last stop of the day – knowing that you’re going to bat for the rest of us sure makes it easier to bear. Thank you so much for everything. I wish you the very best of luck,

    Ian

  • Posted by Brian Hoyt

    Great blog. Sorry to see it go. Best of luck

  • Posted by Freude Bud

    Congratulations!

    You have the enviable ability of making very difficult and complex subjects at least partly intelligible to laymen. You will be missed.

    I hope you enjoy your new gig … and think it has to be one of the most interesting times in our history and one of the most exciting administrations.

    Best,

  • Posted by Scott Malcomson

    This is just rotten news. Your blog has been a great example: for CFR, for economics blogging, for policy blogging, for blogging in general. You’ll be missed.

  • Posted by tyaresun

    Congratualtions. Good luck. You blog entries will be sorely missed.

  • Posted by Dennis Redmond

    Brad -

    best of luck with the new gig — this was one of the indispensable blogs of the past two years, a sovereign (wealth-fund-pun-intended) antidote to the neoliberal bubble-ideologues. Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Posted by Michael

    Ave atque value, Brad. The blogosphere is a lot less interesting without you.

  • Posted by gillies

    a slightly contrarian view from a tower house in a bog in county tipperary -

    brad, i am glad you are moving on – for your sake, not for ours. i am glad to see you quit while you are still winning.
    everything becomes stale if carried on for too long. i hope you know where you are going.

    to the contributors the message is : ‘if you want any more you can sing it yourself.’

    the questions which most intrigued me remain questions :

    how you kept so cool under provocation.

    how you kept so relatively open, working for a crowd who so value secrecy.

    what items greenspan’s computer displayed as he continuously monitored the global economy.

    who tied knots in the rotor blades of bernanke’s helicopter.

    who fired what at the accounts department of you know where on the day the two lets not go there again fell down.

    what is switzerland for ?

    why ponzi was denied the nobel prize – when his concepts have been dominant in financial centres globalwise.

    what keynes really said.

    why financial commentators assume that wall streeters favour financial stability, when it is in instability that the big opportunities lie.

    what part the black market, the drugs market, and the illegal arms market play in the world banking system.

    how the creators of the fed got away with it.

    and i leave still holding the views that i came in with :

    that DJC will never give in.

    that fiat currency is free credit not free money.

    that global financial contraction is sustainable.

    in which case crazy borrowing gives way to crazy saving.

    that the price of oil will fall, long term, as production declines.

    that china is the second most successful nation on the planet and a liikely candidate for the next superpower -

    except that rats (rattus norvegicus) are the second most successful species on the planet and well placed to take over if we blow it.

    sorry about that, china.

    thanks brad.

  • Posted by Yoda

    looking at 10/30years yield, people are more afraid of 10/30years bond than stock market. no surprise here, consider tsunami of wasteful cash for clunker alike program federal/state level, tsunami of bond origination by Treasury, tsunami of federal spending like ObamaCare.

  • Posted by Brian

    Thanks for all your time and energy writing this blog. I read it much too much during the crisis in late 2008 and wish I had found it earlier. Best wishes in your new job. May the road rise to meet you.

  • Posted by Qingdao

    Fellas: it’s like the pub is closing; can we meet elsewhere? any suggestions? Mostly, i want to discuss China

  • Posted by Kevin

    This is terrible news. You will be sorely missed. No other in the blogosphere can elucidate complex capital flows to laymen like you.

    I hope you enjoy working for Larry Summers!

  • Posted by Rien Huizer

    Qingdao,

    Ask Brad?

  • Posted by cmc313

    Brad:
    Congrats but so sad to see you leaving blogsphere. You will be missed and I hope you write something in your spare time.
    Best of luck in your new endeavors.
    JC

  • Posted by lilnev

    Thank you. I haven’t commented often, but I’ve appreciated and learned. Best of luck, do good, and I hope someday you blog again.

  • Posted by hypotheek check

    Thanks for the info about ” All great things have to end” and it is all about calculation procedur. Now a days we need to track our money management due to recession.

    Thanks for the post! Good luck!

    Marc Jansen
    hypotheek check

  • Posted by Glen M

    Why does this smell more like a conscription rather than a hiring?

  • Posted by Twofish

    Three questions to think about in your new job:

    1) What happened and what can we learn to keep bad stuff from happening again?

    2) What is the role of the American financial firms (a.k.a. Wall Street) in the post-crash financial system?

    3) What is the role of the United States in the post-crash world?

  • Posted by Pooky Amsterdam

    I have just started reading this blog to make my viewers more aware of the world market situation, and I miss you already!
    Please keep in mind in this Global Economy, that the US really does need to start manufacturing again, that the 360 to 1 ratio of pay a CEO to their worker gets, is not good for the economy in the long run and that the education of the people of these United States is a mandate to our future as a viable economic nation.
    In other words, take the wonderful morality you have shown, the insightful intelligence you have honed and the conscience you obviously possess with you in your new job.
    We are greater ultimately as a species for the humanity we share. Good Luck!

  • Posted by rich

    Brad,

    I am one of the many Americans who elected this adminstration to GOVERN by wisely driving policies that lead America to prosperity, peace, respect, and trust.

    This blog has demonstrated your ability to identify problems/risks and your new opportunity gives you the opportunities to focus on solutions/opportunities/rewards.

    With greatest thanks for your work to date and greatest support for your far more important work in the future.

  • Posted by Michael Pettis

    ha ha it’s about time. good luck.

  • Posted by LawrenceW

    Congrats.
    Best Wishes to you and USA.

  • Posted by Boat Speed

    Thanks for all the information Brad! and good luck. Sorry to see you go

  • Posted by Gertjan

    Brad,

    Thank you very much and good luck in your new job! As an international economist in government (Ministry of Finance and European Commission) I have found your entries very useful. Good luck and let us know how you are doing in some way.

    Best,
    Gertjan

    PS Who will replace you?

  • Posted by UAEBULL

    Brad, thank you for all the fantastic posts. I have been a regular reader of this blog and will definitely miss it. all the best in your new role.

  • Posted by David James

    You’ve talked about the blog bringing your attention to learned people and institutions it would not otherwise have reached.

    It also brought the world of international trade deficits and surpluses to a fascinated lay reader who is now more learned than he would ever otherwise have been.

    good luck

  • Posted by df

    Thanks for all Brad. I ve been commenting less and less, but kept reading.
    It s great to read that you take some responsability, it makes me feel more confident in the future.
    I m impressed by the workload you achieved.
    I wish you all the best.
    François

  • Posted by Judy Yeo

    Good luck in whatever you do Brad. Hope you’ll have the time to give us some insight occasionally in the future! Thanks for the gems (of wisdom) and perks (of controversy), you’ll be sadly missed!

    JY

  • Posted by Vasastan

    Thank you for the excellent posts you have provided over the years – you will be sorely missed. Best of luck with the new job, and I hope that you will be able to nudge the policy of your new boss in a more sensible direction.

  • Posted by anon
  • Posted by Analyst - CA. Dept Ins.

    Thank you for the information, analysis and discussions provided in this forum … that includes frequent contributors and guests.

    Good luck!

  • Posted by JC Moreno

    Dude I was just getting used to you being part of my morning routine. Best of luck to you!!

  • Posted by fatbrick

    Finally a place that deserves you, Brad. Gratz on the new opportunity.

  • Posted by zezowaty Zorro

    Thank you for your insight. We will miss you in Poland, you know – Walesa, Wojtyla and Brzezinski’s birthplace.
    All the best for your new venture. Enjoy it.

  • Posted by Geert Noels

    Dear Brad

    Thanks for all the knowledge and discussions over the years.
    Our roads have crossed 5 years ago, and will certainly cross again in the future

    Kind regards

    Geert Noels
    Chief economist

  • Posted by Stefan, Tallinn

    Brad, thanks for your impressive work with the blog over a long period of time.

    I hope my second favourite among macroblogs mpettis.com will continue, and maybe pick up some of the topics from this blog.

  • Posted by yoda

    read my lips, Fed will keep 0% rate for 2 years. watch CRB and Gold to lift off, blast off to outer-space. Fed will deliberately trash the USD.

    by the way, can we get cash for clunkered Air Condition or Central Air Condition installation?

  • Posted by Invisible Hand

    I will miss your blogs, but I am in one of the agencies you will work with, and I am pleased that we will have your caliber at work in the high reaches of the USG.
    Time to quit blogging and start correcting!

  • Posted by C. Michael Reilly

    Thanks for helping the rest of us try to divine the truth amongst all the politics and delusions that beset our kind … human beings that is.

  • Posted by awake

    Brad,

    Have enjoyed your work since I first stumbled on your blog over a year ago. Thanks for all the excellent insights. Good luck in your new role; see if you can drill some fiscal sanity into the washington crew.

    Best,

    Awake

  • Posted by jmf

    Danke from Germany!

  • Posted by Darren

    Congratulations on a truly helpful and knowledgeable source of inspiration. Many thanks for the effort.

  • Posted by Emmanuel

    Yikes…I am late to this, but happy trails from the IPE Zone!

  • Posted by pebird

    Brad, congratulations on the new gig. I learned a lot from your posts and from the comments discussion. I can’t imagine why the feds would need an expert on Chinese economic and financial analysis, but who can figure out the government? Maybe you can put your name on the new Treasuries for Clunkers program – a sure winner. All the best, I am going to miss this blog a lot.

  • Posted by shahin

    Congrats on your appointment Brad. Your work has been enlightning in many respects including in places where you didn’t consider yourself an expert like the Middle East…

    You will be missed. Keep in touch…

  • Posted by wayne

    You wrote a great blog. Thanks. Best wishes.

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    I just thought of one last request from Brad.

    Brad, if you ever notice that the Brinks trucks running between the Fed building and Treasury building stop carrying treasury bonds from the Treasury to the Fed, and carrying dollars back to the Treasury on the return trip, and begin just carrying dollars in the Treasury to Fed direction, returning empty to the Treasury, please find a way to leak that observation to the Washington Post.

    I’ll be watching for the news that the taxpayer is paying interest on excess bank reserves at the Fed, so that the Fed can raise interest rates.

    Or better yet, cut that one off at the pass.

  • Posted by Counterpointer

    I’m late to this, but all the best for public policy, now that you’ll be less public and more policy.

    C

  • Posted by CapitalistImperialistPig

    Best wishes and good luck, but this is a bit like a death in the family.

  • Posted by anon
  • Posted by richard mcgregor

    Great job. I will miss your blog a lot.

  • Posted by Roland

    Thanks, Brad. I learned a lot from your blog.

  • Posted by Rahul

    All the best, and hope you return some day :)

  • Posted by Stormy

    Brad,

    It has been a great blog, documenting an historical moment of great import: China’s entry onto the world stage as well as the integration of global finance.

    Thanks.

  • Posted by Peter Garber

    Brad,
    Let me add my farewell. I will miss the public views on the wide array of issues surrounding global imbalances from one of the few insightful analysts of the problem.

  • Posted by Dara

    Well…

    …damn. Congratulations, but I’ll miss your knowledge and clear writing. You’ve been a voice of sanity and will be missed.

    – Dara

  • Posted by Paul Maidment

    I guess we knew this day would come, but your insight and clarity will be sorely missed.

  • Posted by q

    oh drat. i learned quite a bit from your blog, brad, and am sad to see it go.

  • Posted by dan k

    Congrats on the NEC Brad! I’ve been reading the blog since back at RGE Monitor and you always provided a valuable perspective on global imbalances. Hopefully you will return to blogging soon, but until then you will be missed!

  • Posted by Glen Mikkelsen

    Well… your gain is our loss :). Congrats.

    Best of luck on the other side.
    Regards, G.M

  • Posted by Lacarota

    Thanks and best wishes.

  • Posted by bsetser

    Peter G — thanks. I have enjoyed our debates, though I was always at a tactical disadvantage once you figured out that you could figure out my views in advance by reading the blog! And I am glad that on occasion you found my work insightful — though I suspect that I ended up documenting the persistence of BW2 (in a lot of ways, though not as an engine for growth) helped!

  • Posted by Janson

    Thank you for your great contributions to this murky research area. Your posts have been helpful to me and others that I work with in ways that I am sure have helped this country better understand its situation. Welcome to service in the Federal Government. It’s not all bad.

  • Posted by YZ

    Congrats, and best of luck. But then again what a pity. I can’t express how much I appreciate your work. Is there anyway you can provide provide a little primer on how to look at TIC & Flow of funds data? Thank you so much.

  • Posted by Ed Skoog

    I’ll miss being able to dip into this area of knowledge, Brad.

  • Posted by Jeff Benson

    Phenomenal work. I’ll miss the post.

  • Posted by satyen mehta

    Telling the truth to power, I hope. Many thanks for your diligence and generosity with your invaluable insights. Congratulations.

  • Posted by Ray Brooks

    In your work I discovered a focus on the data with consideration to the implications, rather than rhetoric and invective. Your focus and approach informed and enlightening. I look forward to reading your future blogs after/or writings after your work at the NEC. Bon voyage.

  • Posted by zulutrade

    Bonne route à toi et encore merci pour tes articles !

    un admirateur

  • Posted by zulu trade

    tu vas où exactement ?

  • Posted by Majorajam

    I’m beyond too late, but truly enjoyed reading this blog whenever I could surf over. Though I’m sorry to see it gone, it at least improves my confidence in the guys and gals currently at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I’m not sure whether to congratulate you or them!

    Thanks for your stellar contribution and best of luck in your next endeavor.

  • Posted by FollowTheMoney

    Lou Jiwei, “the chairman of the CIC, China’s sovereign wealth fund, said at a conference on Saturday in response to a question about his expected performance: “It will not be too bad this year. Both China and America are addressing bubbles by creating more bubbles and we’re just taking advantage of that. So we can’t lose.”

    What’s Jiwei talking about? the biggest bubble now is U.S. Tbills and China is sitting on that. How you going to hedge ~2.5 Trillion?

    The S&P has hit 1040 or close to it, Fed needs to avoid bubble after bubble and just let deflation run it’s course. I’m worried that we’re trying to ignite an air balloon that will rise but half way on it’s way up be hit by a bird that sends it faster south.

    High to Fly, Deeper to FALL.

  • Posted by bsetser

    je vais au NEC/ NSC int. economics staff — je connais pas les mots francais, mais c’est plus ou moins le cabinet (je crois) du M. Summers. (cabinet = staff/ private office j’ espere)

  • Posted by Eric Burroughs

    A belated congrats Brad, and let me join the chorus of those saying your blog will be missed. It has been a fantastic resource for those of us trying to get our heads around the global capital flows and a great forum for intelligent debate. Good luck in the new job and hope to stay in touch offline. Best wishes — Eric

  • Posted by Cassandra

    Best of luck Brad. Your writings have always been thought-provoking and illuminating.

    -C-

  • Posted by Laurent GUERBY

    Good luck for your new job and thanks for the great work here.

  • Posted by Randolph R.

    My best wishes.

  • Posted by Cedric Regula

    Brad,

    Larry Summers croit-il vraiment le Verre-Steagall était-il une mauvaise idée ?

  • Posted by Invictus_88

    You’d better be back blogging someday!

  • Posted by B

    So Brad, the Illuminati have given you a new posting…hhhmmmm!

  • Posted by astropolitik

    Congratulations on your new job! Like many others here, I am both happy for you and absolutely devastated at the loss of this blog. Best wishes as you do great and good things.

  • Posted by Shan

    An interesting post to go through. Find more world top news stories.

  • Posted by Utah SEO

    til we meet again!

  • Posted by John

    I sure hope Mr. Setser’s input is valued at the NEC, and that his hiring was not just a way to co-opt him and silence the blog. I still miss his analyses over a year later.

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