Politics & Policy

Paul Krugman Wins Nobel Prize in Being Liberal

The news behind the news.

Stockholm, Sweden — Columnist Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in Being Liberal on Monday. Previous winners include Harold Pinter, Austrian feminist/pornographer Elfriede Jelinek, and Guatemalan hoax Rigoberta Menchu.

The 55-year-old American economist was praised by the Royal Swedish Academy of the Sciences for economic theories that tend to support the Academy’s moonbat collectivist ideology.

#ad#The Academy praised Krugman for sticking with the sort of leftist demagoguery that tends to preclude rather than invite open-minded debate. Examples given included his New York Times column from August 7 of this year, in which he called the GOP “the party of stupid,” and his long-held conviction that Republicans have cooties.

Krugman is the author of The Conscience of a Liberal and a column of the same name in the once prominent Times. Both have been optioned for a movie, tentatively entitled See How My Heart Bleeds.

Despite Krugman’s ability to go on at length about very little, one of his most influential publications weighed in at a mere 10 pages, that being a 1979 article in The Journal of International Economics in which he introduced his trade theory. The paper stated that because consumers want a variety of goods and economies of scale make production more efficient, similar countries can succeed in building their own versions of the same products for both export and import. This theory was called common sense, and while Krugman did not invent it, it was notable in that it is not usually associated with liberal economists.

According to the Nobel Citation, which is much like a Chevy Citation stripped of its practical value, “The new theory clarifies why worldwide trade is in fact dominated by countries which not only have similar conditions, but also trade in similar products — for instance, a country such as Sweden that both exports and imports cars.”

Krugman built on this topic in a follow-up paper entitled “We Really Like Volvos, Too,” in which he posited that, while specialization and economies of scale could hypothetically allow Sweden to produce a variety of cars, they should really stick to the ones preferred by American liberals. The paper singled out Volvos, in general, and silver-grey Volvo station wagons, in particular.

Transportation is, in fact, a central element in Krugman’s work. As the citation summarizes: “Lower transport costs can trigger a self-reinforcing process whereby a growing metropolitan population gives rise to increased large-scale production… regions become divided into a high-technology urbanized core and a less developed ‘periphery’” where people cling to God and guns out of bitterness.

Past winners of the award expressed their support for the selection in their own ways. Rigoberta Menchu, the multicultural Guatemalan precursor to James Frey, claimed to have written all of the same papers as Krugman, while Harold Pinter, whose condition seems to be worsening, screamed “Aaaah! Aaaah! Aaaaaaaaaah!” into the telephone.

The newly minted laureate himself was taking it in stride. “For economists, this is a validation but not news. We know what each other have been up to,” Krugman told the Times. “For readers of the column, maybe they will read a little more carefully when I’m being economistic, or maybe have a little more tolerance when I’m being boring.”

Krugman smiled at the thought, an indication that perhaps another universal truth had entered his celebrated mind: That he has been consistently boring since his column began in 1999.

— Michael Northrop is a writer living in New York.

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