January 01, 2016
Rewrites of history can pop up in the strangest places. This one appears in an obituary for Edward Hugh, an economist who became somewhat famous for his pessimistic blogposts about the prospects for the euro zone. Towards the end, the piece tells readers:
“On occasion his prognostications were overly pessimistic, and Spain’s surprisingly quick economic recovery was an event that he, along with many others, did not foresee.”
This one should have left readers scratching their heads. Spain did not have a surprisingly quick recovery. In fact it’s recovery was much weaker and slower than almost anyone expected. In 2010, the I.M.F. projected that by 2015 Spain’s GDP would be 4.7 percent above its 2008 pre-recession level. It’s most recent projections show 2015 GDP coming in 3.1 percent below the 2008 level. If Hugh was wrong about the pace of Spain’s recovery, he was most likely overly optimistic, since very few people expected an economic performance that would be this weak.