Nobel Prize winner speaks on housing bubble
It's not every day that a Nobel Prize-wining economist shows up to discuss the housing bubble -- something near, dear and painful to Floridians. This Friday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m., economist Vernon Smith will discuss the recent turmoil in the U.S. economy and how it got this way at the University of South Florida College of Business in Tampa. His lecture is titled: “The Housing Bubble That Engulfed the Economy.”
The timing could not be any better, given this week's efforts by President Obama to sell the public on the economic stimulus package, the efforts to pass such legislation through a divided Congress, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's sales pitch on the bank rescue package (and resulting backlash in the stock markets). Among Smith's ideas he will discuss: Recapitalizing banks to restore confidence in the credit financing of homes, autos, other durables; privatizing whatever value can be salvaged in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; getting out of the housing finance subsidy business, and letting bankruptcies happen in the retail and auto industries.
“Dr. Smith is coming to talk about a problem of enormous proportions here in Florida: the housing bubble that occurred and its almost overwhelming ramifications on the U.S. and world economies,” said Bob Forsythe, dean of the USF College of Business in Tampa.
The Nobel Laureate currently teaches at Chapman University in California. Often referred to as the "father of experimental economics," Smith was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002 for his groundbreaking work in the field. The author or co-author of more than 250 articles and books, the popular lecturer will spend two days in Tampa, speaking with students and faculty at this open lecture, as well as participating in several smaller, private gatherings with local business leaders.
Smith speaks at the USF Business School. Here's a map. The business school is just to the left of the Sun Dome. Information at (813) 974-0022.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist