Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Ah, the Paul Krugman Problem! How does Nobel Laureate economist-cum-New York Times progressive-blogger come to his conclusions?

The other day, the eminent Scott Sumner noted — in “The power of wishful thinking?” — that in the space of one year Krugman seemed to gain a great deal of certainty about how vital it is to reduce inequality.

Sumner quotes Krugman from a year ago, when he frankly admitted that he’d like to agree with Joe Stiglitz’s thesis about inequality, but just wasn’t able to persuade himself.

Unfortunately, Krugman hasn’t given us a lot of reason to follow his “lead,” his new-found faith in Stiglitzian equality. Sumner cites a possible “inspiration” for Krugman’s new tune: Krugman’s employer, the New York Times, has, as editorial policy, shifted leftward on such issues. And then Sumner waxes philosophical:

Sometimes an economist will change his view on a single issue because of some new empirical study (although that actually doesn’t happen as much as you’d think, or as much as you might like). But what about when an economist suddenly swings sharply to the left or right on a whole range of unrelated issues?

Many people do go through radical conversions; you can find interesting conversion testimonies of a religious nature, if not so many in political economy.

As for me, the subject of inequality continues to fascinate, like picking at a scab.

I suspect that rising inequality is caused by the very institutions that Paul Krugman regards as bedrock: institutions that redistribute money from one group to another; institutions that regulate behavior for the benefit (we’re told) of the worse off; institutions altogether “progressive.”

Surely there would be more downward mobility for the rich and upward mobility for the poor in a freer society than in a more Krugman-approved society.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Jay says:

    Krugman WAS ALSO THE ECONOMIST FOR THAT FINE, OUTSTANDING FIRM, ENRON ( RUN BY KEN LAY, who it is widely reported was a friend of George W. Bush and others in his administration, AND NOT WIDELY REPORTED A FRIEND OF BILL & HILLARY CLINTON, and a major contributor to Bill’s campaigns). So as to his views- they go with the wind.

    And, further, just a few months ago, THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK made him an honorary professor or some such title AT A SALARY OF $250,000 PER YEAR–AND IT IS A PART TIME JOB).

    Is Krigman going to share some of the additional money with the poor, the downtrodden, and destitute of New York City?

    i doubt it,.

  2. Rick says:

    Krugman’s a whore that believes the government knows best how to rule your life and everybody else’s.

    Nassim Taleb-Black Swan author–says these guys should be forced to have skin in the game to make these vast, huge bets with our economy and our lives.

    Always refer to Mish’s “Fed Uncertainty Principle” when thinking about economists: Basically stated–the more they screw it up, the more power they demand to fix the problems that they themselves created.

  3. Drik says:

    If they wanted to have consequences, they wouldn’t be lib-progs.

  4. MoreFreedom says:

    “Surely there would be more downward mobility for the rich and upward mobility for the poor in a freer society than in a more Krugman-approved society.”

    I agree completely. But freedom isn’t compatible with those who want to use government to steal for their benefit. And Krugman wants government to steal and he earns a living promoting that.

    Statists want government to have power over you, and want to be in charge. God will grant statists their first wish when they die, but he will remain in charge and relegate them to hell, where they don’t have the freedom they aren’t willing to give to others.

    You can’t have freedom, unless you are first willing to give it to others.

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