February 22nd, 2010

Paul Krugman, up close and personal—if you can stand it

I’m not sure whether this New Yorker piece about Paul Krugman is meant to be admiring or denigrating. But I would sum its message up as follows:

Krugman used to be an insufferable intellectually arrogant and politically clueless person gifted in a particular (non-political) area of economics, who has almost no non-academic real-world experience. Since 2000, with the help of his wife and a whopping case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, he’s become a very angry insufferable intellectually arrogant and politically clueless person gifted in a particular (non-political) area of economics, who has almost no non-academic real-world experience.

Oh, and he’s always right, and those who disagree with him are idiots.

Any questions? Class dismissed.

13 Responses to “Paul Krugman, up close and personal—if you can stand it”

  1. Occam's Beard Says:

    Krugman should revive Long Term Capital Management.

  2. Gringo Says:

    Here is classic Krugman doing an informal poll on Canadian health care.

    Krugman: –and I wanted to ask, actually two questions, to the audience. First, how many Canadians, would Canadians in the room please raise your hands.

    Donvan: We have about seven hands going up—

    Krugman: OK, not as many as I thought. OK, of those of you who are not on the panel who are Canadians, how many of you think you have a terrible health care system. One, two–

    Donvan: We see—almost all of the same hands going up.
    Krugman: Bad move on my part

    Which illustrates why I have never regretted ignoring him.

  3. Scott Says:

    I haven’t read the piece (and probably won’t), but your summary makes it sound like The New Yorker is taking a shot at Krugman. How odd.

    I had subscribed to the dead tree version of the NYT for over a decade while I lived in NYC. Around 2004 or 2005, after no WMD were found in Iraq, Frank Rich and Paul Krugman ratcheted up the vile to unbearable levels. I finally cancelled my subscription because I was sick of helping to pay the salaries of two extreme hate mongers.

    I don’t mind reading opposing points of view. In fact, I enjoy it when someone can provide insight about an issue I haven’t considered. But I don’t tolerate hate, anger, smugness, or arrogance very well. And that’s mostly what you get from those two.

  4. Bill West Says:

    Krugman is a big favorite of James Taranto, who puts out the dailiy Best of the Web Today column at opinionjournal.com, from the Wall St. Journal.

    He always includes the description “former Enron advisor” when mentioning Krugman’s name, citing some long-ago engagement.

    He would agree with your assessment, Neo, so I tipped him to to your blog item.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Scott: no, I don’t think the author of the New Yorker piece actually realized how bad Krugman sounds in it, or intended to criticize him much. She is Larissa MacFarquhar, and I have noticed before that she tends to write profiles that merely describe, and that have a tone that’s somewhat hard to fathom.

    In this case, it’s clear to me that Krugman comes off very poorly in the article. But I’m not at all sure that MacFarquhar meant it that way, or that most New Yorker readers would not think the portrait it paints to be a flattering one, of a forceful guy who just knows he’s right, and with whom they agree.

  6. Artfldgr Says:

    when i commented this before… i had to delete it several times… why? because it was just all over, and a mess… so i share the confusion on it.

  7. Nelly Says:

    I think the New Yorker knows exactly how Krugman comes across in this piece, i.e., not groundbreaking in his ideas but only in his modeling of old ideas, and eccentric in an (uncool) Trekkie kind of way. Payback time because he recently wrote a column (or two?) quite critical of Obama?

  8. Tom Says:

    Krugman and Cornel West, both Princeton perfessers; Michelle, whose senior thesis was that Princeton wasn’t black enuf. Go, Tigers, go!

  9. ELC Says:

    They could have put it in one word: psychotic. But I don’t suppose the writer would have gotten paid very much for that.

  10. expat Says:

    Taranto picked a line from Krugman in the New Yorker article, something to the effect of, I’m craving the chance to do some deep thinking. I haven’t had time to do a lot of that lately.

    How much would the NYT pay me for shallow columns? I make no claims of brillliance, but if all one needs for NYT space is to produce a weekly pile of BS, why not me?

  11. nyomythus Says:

    Pretty much nailed it on Krugman, I concur.

  12. ethos Says:

    We are living in a Paul Krugman economy.

    He’s a genius!
    High unemployment, staring down the barrel of bigger government intrusion into our lives, higher taxes, more government regulation, more public sector jobs, fewer private sector jobs, and HUGE unsustainable public debt. (and Krugman wants more debt!)

    Paul. Krugman. economy.

  13. gs Says:

    1. I don’t pay much attention to Krugman. I might pay more if he hadn’t been making his we-are-doomed pitch since 1990.

    2. The New Yorker piece ends with:

    “I think he’s happy,” his friend Craig Murphy says. “A much happier person now than when we first met him…If there is sadness in him at all, I think it is a tiny core of profound sadness of the kind that the Buddha understood—that we probably can’t use human rationality to make the world all better, and it would be really nice if we were able to.”

    Krugman and the Buddha: that is, Krugman and one of the most significant spiritual figures in history. Good grief.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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