Here begins yet another blog–which immediately raises the question: Why? A blog is a peculiarly 21st century vanity, and I set out with no expectations that I will amass a large readership. The field is so crowded, and many of the subjects that I will discuss are so arcane, that it would be foolish to expect otherwise. Indeed, I imagine that this blog is as likely to be read as the greeting plaque on the Viking space probe.
So why bother? In all modesty I think I can claim a decent reputation in a few specialized areas of economics and finance, notably the economics of exchanges and commodity markets. I have written about these subjects in academic publications for over two score years, and plan to continue to do so. However, traditional academic forms–journal articles, and to a lesser degree, books–are highly structured and highly limiting. There are many interesting subjects and ideas that do not fit comfortably in these traditional academic genres. Some ideas are too small in and of themselves to warrant publication in a journal–even a minor one–but too important to be ignored altogether. Some ideas are promising but insufficiently developed. Perhaps most important, traditional academic publication is inimical to discussion and analyis of current and topical subjects.
The blog is a more immediate, fluid, dynamic, and contemporaneously interactive medium. It is conducive to the communication of the small truth and the protean idea. It permits immediate analysis of the day’s topical issues. It is a way of reaching people outside the academic community–people who have valuable knowledge and insights, and who have vocational or avocational interests in a variety of subjects. So in a nutshell, this blog is the continuation of research by other means.
What about the name, you ask. The “Professor” part is pretty obvious–that’s what I am/do. The “Street” part echoes the colloquial use of the term “The Street” to refer to the financial markets. Around the world, “the Street” is synonymous with Wall Street. In Chicago, “the Street” refers to the LaSalle Street financial district dominated by the Board of Trade. (As a native Chicagoan, I am partial to the latter of course–hence the background graphic of a 1920s view down LaSalle Street to the famous CBOT building.) Since this blog will focus on financial issues, especially as they pertain to financial exchanges and markets around the world, the “Street” in “Streetwise” accurately describes the subject matter. As for the “Wise” part, well, that is a goal to strive for: I hope that I can express through this blog some wisdom accumulated through years of study and work. In the end, my readers will judge whether I achieve that goal.
The title is also somewhat ironic, and related to my (somewhat arrested) musical tastes. A complementary hat tip awaits the first person to make the connection. (A small reward, you might say, but in the world of Google the cost of obtaining such information is commensurately small.)
Although this blog will focus on financial and commodity markets, I will explore other interests as well. In particular, from time to time I will comment on military and political matters that engage my attention.
So for those of you that have somehow made it through the increasingly dense web to this site–Welcome. I hope you find it of interest. I encourage you to participate actively through comments, as I hope to learn from my readers too.