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No Committee to Save the World now

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There is a certain nostalgia in Washington these days for a creative US economic leadership, like back in the 1990s

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

MANY American magazines tend to feature on their covers pictures of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and other notorious public figures, so that it may be difficult to recall that there was a time when the US media treated economists like John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman like celebrities, if not as national superstars.

On Feb 15, 1999, following the 1997 East Asian Financial Crisis and the 1998 Long Term Capital Management collapse/Russia/Brazil financial crisis, Time magazine's cover carried a group photo of then US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and his deputy, Lawrence Summers, and proclaimed the three to be the chairman and two co-chairmen of the 'Committee to Save the World'.

'Economists as heroes?' asked the magazine. 'It sounds silly…