When it comes to predicting a dark future, Nouriel Roubini – the NYU economist who earned the moniker Dr. Doom after he correctly predicted the financial crisis – is not about to let anyone get in his way.
Even if it’s his host. And even, or maybe especially, when there are 500 witnesses.
That’s precisely what happened Wednesday morning, when Michael Milken – the former junk-bond king – shared the stage with Roubini at Milken’s Global Conference. What was billed as an interview in one of the Beverly Hilton’s grand ballrooms had the feel of a pitched battle.
Roubini warned of a massive oil shock following a potential clash between Iran and Israel – or possibly the United States, sometime after the November presidential elections. He talked about geopolitical instability in the Middle East. “It’s a mess,” he said.
Milken countered with a graph showing the U.S. has bigger fossil fuel reserves than any other country in the world, and suggested that natural gas, extracted from shale reserves that are largely outside the Middle East, will eventually make Arab clashes irrelevant to energy.