Heard in Davos 2010: Dispatches from the Conference

Roubini Wants a New Nickname

“Dr. Doom” isn’t cutting it anymore for Nouriel Roubini.


The nickname came from the headline of an August 2008 "New York Times" article. It was basically a portrait piece of the man who had predicted the current economic crisis.

But while it was “cute” at the time, it’s becoming wearisome and doesn’t accurately reflect his opinions, he told me.

And he’s armed with an alternative: Dr. Realism.

It may be a good assessment of how he thinks his work and opinions should be recognized, but it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. And I’m doubting that Marvel would want to showcase that superhero.

On second thought, it would be kind of interesting. Think of economics comic doom, featuring Dr. Realism and his sidekick The Pragmatic Kid. They face off against a litany of villains, including Captain Sensible, The Amazingly Practical Women and Honest Assessment Avenger. Tune in next week, friends, for the exciting conclusion when they all reach a reasonable consensus.

I’ve tried to come up with more catchy ones: Realismo or something. But to no avail. But we’d be glad to hear your suggestions if you e-mail davos@cnbc.com.

Why spend so much time on a nickname? Roubini attracts a lot of attention at WEF and page view data tell us our readers pay attention, too. Other contrarian commentary—from the likes of Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, Nassim Taleb—also does well.

What’s the attraction? It may be because there are just lots of bulls around. Or it may be that the financial crisis caught so many off guard that they like to hear about doomsday scenarios.

As IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in response to an observation that there’s less panic in Davos this year than last: “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”