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Welcome to Echoes: A Blog About the Past

By Amity Shlaes

The past is the news. That's what some of us have concluded as we've watched markets grapple with big events. Looking at history has helped us make sense of current movements, both economic and political.

Sometimes the experience seems almost auditory: listen hard enough and you hear echoes from preceding crashes, or preceding elections. We can’t always agree on the importance of what we hear. But we can’t afford to shut the sound out.

This blog will be Bloomberg’s new listening station for reverberations from the past. My post will open each week by looking at a topic or event in economic history and considering its implications for today's headlines. This week, for instance, I'll be looking at how the economic lessons of post-communist Europe can be applied to the Arab Spring.

But that’s only the beginning. John Taylor, one of the nation’s leading monetary minds, will supply his own perspective on the economy, past and present. Tax historian Joseph Thorndike will consider events from a fiscal angle. Chartist Ilan Kolet will offer data-driven graphics. Nikolai Krylov will review and recommend books about the week's topic. And we'll invite a range of other thinkers and writers to weigh in as we go.

Most important, this is a place for readers to speak up and share their own comparisons, to send in reports of the echoes they're picking up. We welcome links and comments. And we hope that the past can become the basis for a lively and enlightening community.

(Amity Shlaes is a columnist for Bloomberg View and oversees the Echoes blog. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer of this column:

Amity Shlaes at

To contact the editor responsible for this column:

Timothy Lavin at +1-212-205-0364 or

-0- May/24/2011 19:24 GMT

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