Originally posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013
A dramatic, widely noticed, three-part series in the Huffington Post by Harvard professor, esteemed historian, and public intellectual Niall Ferguson has — if justice is served — destroyed any vestige of even a pretense of credibility of Nobel Laureate, and New York Times columnist and blogger, Princeton professor Paul Krugman.
Drawing on Krugman’s own Napoleonic bestowal, upon himself, of a title near infallibility, it is entitled Krugtron the Invincible. It is a devastating riposte to Krugman’s own ill-founded critiques of Ferguson’s work. There is an element of Greek tragedy here. By baiting Ferguson, Krugman precipitated his own downfall.
From Part 1:
“Maybe I actually am right,” Krugman wrote back in April, “and maybe the other side actually does contain a remarkable number of knaves and fools. … Look at the results: again and again, people on the opposite side prove to have used bad logic, bad data, the wrong historical analogies, or all of the above. I’m Krugtron the Invincible!” That last allusion is to the 1980s science fiction superhero, Voltron. The resemblance between Krugman and Voltron was suggested by one of the gaggle of bloggers who are to Krugman what Egyptian plovers are to crocodiles. Yesterday one of these thought, wrongly, that he had caught me out. Unwisely, the crocodile snapped its jaws shut.
I don’t know which particular model Paul Krugman was using in the summer of 2012, but it certainly did rather a bad job of predicting what would happen. I laughed out loud at his recent lame excuse that his model couldn’t have been expected to predict the action of the European Central Bank. What an awesome model: one that predicts everything about a monetary union except the action of the monetary authority.
Besides its wrongness, the other striking feature of Krugman’s commentary on the euro is the vitriol he has directed against those struggling to cope with the crisis. In December 2011, he called the then Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti “delusional.” In March of this year, incredibly, he appeared to liken the Finnish Vice President of the European Commission, Olli Rehn, to a cockroach. Some people, I have come to realize, are intimidated by this lack of civility. But I am with Dilbert. It’s simply absurd for this man to accuse others of “derping,” a childish neologism meaning — in case you’ve forgotten — to “take a position and refuse to alter that position … despite being wrong again and again.”
“I like to think,” Krugman wrote on August 14, “that if I had been proved … utterly wrong … I’d have had the strength of character to admit it and question my premises. But I don’t know for sure, and with some luck I’ll never find out.” Now that I have shown Krugtron the Invincible to have been utterly and repeatedly wrong about the euro, I look forward to reading his admission of error.
To be precise, I would like to see him admit that he got the biggest call of the last several years dead wrong, again and again and again. Not only should he admit his mistake, but he should also apologize to the millions of people who have suffered as a result of it. Or does he believe that his numerous, widely read predictions of imminent currency break-up had no impact whatever on the expectations of European investors and consumers?
Excerpts from Part 2 to follow….