Originally posted on Thursday, October 24th, 2013
As noted in a prior blog, a three-part series in the Huffington Post by Niall Ferguson has demolished any public credibility of Paul Krugman. Or his acolytes.
Nemesis, Goddess of Retribution, from the Louvre
In a gesture of intellectual narcissism apparently utterly unmitigated either by irony or whimsy, Krugman lugubriously had presented himself Krugtron the Invincible. The Greeks certainly had it right. Those who have achieved oblos (great wealth, or, in Krugman’s case, prominence) often are followed by hubris, overweening pride.
Hubris inevitably is stalked, and felled, by the goddess of retribution, Nemesis.
Here Ferguson serves as the instrument of the goddess.
Some excerpts from Part 2:
As I pointed out yesterday, Paul Krugman’s right to consign others to the “Always-Wrong Club” , and routinely to insult anyone who dares to disagree with him, is fatally vitiated by his own embarrassingly bad record of commentary on the European phase of the financial crisis. His repeated and erroneous predictions of the European Monetary Union’s imminent collapse constitute a perfect example of what he and his cronies childishly call “derping”: to “take a position and refuse to alter that position no matter how strongly the evidence refutes it, who continue to insist that they have The Truth despite being wrong again and again”.
Regrettably, Krugman – also known to himself and his cronies as “the Invincible Krugtron” – has not found time in his busy schedule of blogging to make the apologies that I believe are due, not only for his incivility and hypocrisy, but also for his own personal contribution to the crisis of confidence that afflicted Europe in 2011 and 2012. Seldom in the history of the economics profession can one man in a crowded theater have shouted fire more often and more loudly, apparently indifferent to the real economic consequences of his actions.
One might have expected a little more humility from an economist who so clearly failed to understand the nature of the biggest financial crisis of his lifetime until after it had happened. Or at least a little less egomania: “Yes,” he wrote in January, “I’ve heard about the notion that I should be Treasury Secretary. I’m flattered, but it really is a bad idea.” Gee, Professor Krugman, why do you say that?
It would mean taking me out of a quasi-official job that I believe I’m good at and putting me into one I’d be bad at. … An op-ed columnist at the [New York] Times … [can] have a lot more influence on national debate than, say, most senators. Does anyone doubt that the White House pays attention to what I write? … By my reckoning … an administration job, no matter how senior, would actually reduce my influence.
Not to mention smugness….
Once upon a time one of the Rolling Stones (Keith Richards, if memory serves) was asked his opinion about one of the leading bands of the punk rock era. He observed that they had the insolent attitude of a rock star down perfectly. Implying, of course, that they lacked (as they did) the technical skill and mastery of the true greats… like the Rolling Stones. Krugman, too, has the attitude down.
Lehrman Institute founder and chairman, Lewis E. Lehrman, frequently makes reference to the moral necessity of developing policy based on what he calls “the laboratory of history.” It therefore is notable that the agent of the goddess, here, is an historian, devastating an academic theoretician. How apt that an amanuensis of Kleio, goddess, muse, of History should serve as the agent of Nemesis in the undoing of Paul Krugman.