Phi Beta Cons

Paul Krugman Gets the Nobel

And lots of people are outraged. For years, all Krugman has been is a propagandist for statist economic policies and the politicians who push them. Awarding him the Nobel when there are many venerable, serious scholars who have done more to advance understanding of economics is revolting.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Don Boudreaux of George Mason University writes:

Like many colleagues who share my appreciation for markets and distrust of government, I’m   disappointed with the award of the Nobel Prize to Paul Krugman (“Paul Krugman Wins Economics Nobel,” October 14). My disappointment stems not from objections I have to the work in trade theory for which Krugman won.
Rather, my disappointment is that the Prize gives the most celebrated credential in economics to a man who routinely issues policy recommendations in apparent ignorance of bedrock truths of his discipline.
One of these truths is that resources are not free. Yet on Sept. 14, 2001,

Krugman wrote that the need to rebuild following the 9/11 attacks would generate “favorable effects”* for the economy; he forgot that resources used to rebuild would have been used to produce other goods and services that, because of the attacks, were not built. Another truth is the reality of mutual gains from trade: Yet on October 20, 2002, he wrote that if the rich get richer, the poor and middle-class must get poorer as “a matter of arithmetic.”
A person who commits elementary errors such as these when discussing economics ought not be taken seriously. Yet Mr. Krugman’s Prize will add undeserved credence to his policy pronouncements.

Another economist who is upset is William Anderson at Frostburg State in Maryland. You can read his take on this here.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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