October 20, 2007

SPLIT PERSONALITY:

Malefactors of Megawealth: THE CONSCIENCE OF A LIBERAL By Paul Krugman (DAVID M. KENNEDY, NY Times Book Review)

Paul Krugman is a justly renowned professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University. His abundant accolades include the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded biannually to an outstanding economist under the age of 40 — a distinction said to be predictive of, and perhaps even more prestigious than, receipt of the Nobel in economic science. His twice-weekly column in The New York Times routinely and authoritatively demystifies complex economic arcana.

And yet maybe Krugman is not really an economist — at least not according to the definition offered more than a century ago by Francis Amasa Walker, the first president of the American Economic Association, who wrote that laissez-faire “was not made the test of economic orthodoxy, merely. It was used to decide whether a man were an economist at all.”


The economics professors here just consider him to be a divisible man. His economics writings are pretty conventional capitalism, which they'd have to be in order to be taken seriously in the profession. His politics views are conventional liberalism/socialism, which they have to be in order to be published by the Times. As Robert Rubin showed, if you give such a guy an economics job even in the political sphere he 's indistinguishable from an Eisenhower Republican. The Lefty rhetoric just makes you welcome at cocktail parties in Manhattan.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 20, 2007 8:32 AM
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