What you need to know about Nouriel Roubini

Dr Doom predicted the financial crisis - will his fears about Brexit come true too?

by Andrew Saunders
Last Updated: 05 Sep 2016

Remember Dr Doom? AKA Prof Nouriel Roubini of the Stern School of Business in New York - he picked up his dingy moniker as a result of being one of the tiny number of mainstream economists to have seen the Great Crash of 2008 coming. And to have done so while the party was still in full swing, in 2006.

Of course, no one paid any attention at the time. But when his dire prognostications came true all that changed, and he was catapulted from off-grid economic eccentric to global financial mastermind - morphing from Cassandra to Sage almost overnight.

He was a specialist in emerging markets, but star player in the global premier league he was not. What rare gift allowed him to see what was invisible to so many other, more prestigious, colleagues?

Roubini himself - born in Turkey to Iranian-Jewish parents, raised in Italy, educated at Harvard - puts it down to being a 'Global Nomad', more flexible and pragmatic than theorists enslaved by dogma.

He has now become the go-to guy for anyone who wants a realistic take on everything from quantitative easing ('the new abnormal') through the state of the euro (moribund) - and now, of course, the question of the UK waving Auf Wiedersehen to the EU.

Roubini's take is less Brexit, more Nexit - just as in the crash, he reckons the gravest risks are the systemic ones. The EU might survive one big departure, but if more countries follow then this grandest of Grands Projets could collapse entirely.

Critics point out that he got many details wrong back in 2008. But he was righter than just about anyone else. We'll have to wait and see if Dr Doom has earned his sombre sobriquet again this time.

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