May 1, 2013

A GREAT ECONOMIST BECOME A POLITICAL HACK:

Paul Krugman's Proud War on Fools, Knaves and Lunatics (Clive Crook Apr 30, 2013, Bloomberg)

Before I examine this mindset and where it leads, I should mention my boundless admiration for Krugman as a scholar. As a young economist many years ago, I was in awe of his ability to examine an economic problem in a new way and find something simple and crucial that others had missed. He did this again and again. A remarkable talent, humbling to watch.

These days, when I read his column or his blog posts (such as one on April 29, which boasted that he's more popular on the Web than celebrity gossip), I sometimes feel as though I were watching Albert Einstein on the Cooking Channel. Is this, I wonder, the best use of his gift? [...]

He's enormously influential with those who need no persuading, which is to say not very influential at all. He would have more influence where it would actually make a difference if he developed -- or at least could feign -- some respect for those who aren't his disciples.
Krugman says his opponents are motivated by politics. "Am I (and others on my side of the issue) that much smarter than everyone else? No. The key to understanding this is that the anti-Keynesian position is, in essence, political. It's driven by hostility to active government policy and, in many cases, hostility to any intellectual approach that might make room for government policy."

Talk about lack of self-awareness. Does Krugman imagine that he isn't motivated by politics? His own views are equally driven by support for active government policy; in many cases, they are also driven by support for any intellectual approach that might make room for such government policy. Like any politician, he expresses certainty where he knows there is doubt. He's more than happy to simplify and exaggerate as the cause demands.

Posted by at May 1, 2013 8:32 PM
  

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