Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dear The Ancient:

What's your answer to:
Why is it that Brad and Paul find themselves arguing in a vacuum? Is it that the rest of the world's macro-economists are stupid or ill-informed?



The Ancient said...

It's a combination of things. Quite a few people -- Barro, for example -- think Paul's making armchair arguments about things he doesn't really understand. His academic work was on trade theory and currency crises, plus a bit of economic geography. None of that -- and it was all some time ago -- gives him any standing to talk about much else except as a smart guy with a prominent platform. I think a clear majority of top academic economists* are somewhat repelled by his insouciance about the deficit and the build-up of long-term debt (and not just academics -- look at Roubini, etc.)

Beyond that, Paul's rudeness, which seems compulsive, and his narcissism, which is nearly crippling, have alienated much of the academic establishment. People ignore him because they can.

When he submitted his first essay to the NYRB, it was rejected because it contained a rather flip dismissal of J.K. Galbraith's skills as an economist. (During WW2, Galbraith predicted that weeds would grow in the streets of Oakland once the stimulus of federal spending on wartime goods and services ended. Therefore, he felt, the government should continue to occupy a large share of the economy, which would directed by wise men like himself.)

Paul is danger of becoming the very thing he once ridiculed.
*See, for instance: http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1959029,00.html

The Ancient said...

It seems Paulo's got the Italians in line:


(I don't remember seeing "Krugmanite" before.)

The Ancient said...

Here's a project for an ambitious graduate student in economics:

Survey the top 50 economists on this list:


Determine what they think of "Krugmanite" views on long-term U.S. debt.

Determine how many have children.

Determine how many have cats instead of children.


FLG said...

I heard somebody say Krugmanite not too long ago on the BBC I think.

That project would be fantastic for the Fear and Loathing in Georgetown intern. If there ever is one.

The Ancient said...

I missed this one:


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