Kenneth Rogoff joins Nouriel Roubini in the competition among respected economists to say the silliest thing possible about the art market (with as little evidence as possible.)
We’ll have a post next week dissecting the nuttiness of Rogoff’s art market screed. But let’s put it into context first by simply pointing out the garbled aphorisms contained in this quote.
The parable of the blind men and the elephant is about the truth of one’s subjective experience being limited and not describing the whole. The blind men each touch—and describe—a different part of the elephant but none can describe the whole beast.
Rogoff appears to conflate this with Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of pornography, ‘I know it when I see it.’
To make the knot of confusion complete, Rogoff blames it all on Rudi Dornbusch:
As the late MIT economist Rüdiger Dornbusch liked to quip, identifying capital flight is akin to the old adage about blind men touching an elephant: It is difficult to describe, but you will recognize it when you see it.