From Dr Jacob A Jordaan.
Sir, I am somewhat puzzled by Kenneth Rogoff’s argument that we should not rely on hindsight to analyse and criticise the actions of the governments of the UK and other countries in the aftermath of the economic crisis (“Britain should not take its credit status for granted”, October 3). Professor Rogoff provides a clear analysis showing that the actions of the UK government at the time can easily be defended, especially given the impossibility of knowing how economic conditions would develop in the last couple of years. However, if we want anything positive to come out of the crisis, surely it should be that governments, banks and international financial institutions look back at what happened and learn from their mistakes and possible errors of judgment.
I agree with Prof Rogoff that with hindsight it is easy to come up with better solutions and more appropriate government policies and that it seems inappropriate to criticise governments too strongly for decisions that seemed perfectly defendable at the time. However, without looking back at the crisis with what we know now, how else will governments be able to learn from the experience, adjust their expectations and prepare themselves better for future international economic challenges?
Jacob A Jordaan, Utrecht University School of Economics, The Netherlands