Monday, January 09, 2012

Well that explains a lot

Megan McArdle does some clear thinking:
So far, none of the people who have urged me to recognize Krugman's superior analytic abilities on the grounds that he called the housing bubble, have changed their minds and agreed with me when I informed them that I "called" it even earlier than their sage.  Nor have they switched their allegiance to The Economist, which has been quite sharp about Krugman in its time.

I get the feeling that Krugman himself rather encourages this touching faith in his unusual forecasting abilities, and more generally, the notion that the only reason he is such a flaming jerk to economists he disagrees with is that they really are, every one of them, too stupid to count to twenty with their shoes on.  His latest response to Marginal Revolution is a case in point:

I plead innocent. I only treat people as mendacious idiots if they are mendacious idiots.

Seriously: I have some big disagreements with Ken Rogoff, but if you use the little search box up there on the upper right and enter "Rogoff" I think you'll find that I have always treated him with respect. On the other hand, enter "Heritage" and you'll find me pretty scornful -- but with very good reason! And I always document what I'm saying.
This is true, as far as it goes: in my recollection, he always has been pretty respectful to Ken Rogoff.

But allow me to suggest--gently, gently!--that this might not be quite the whole story.  For those of Krugman's readers who are not familiar with Ken Rogoff's oeuvre beyond what they have read of it on Paul Krugman's blog, it's worth noting that Ken Rogoff has not, in the past, been shy about shredding Nobel Prizewinners who made the mistake of going all Defcon 1 in Professor Rogoff's vicinity.  And that it's generally agreed that the last time this happened, he got by far the better of the argument.

Paul Krugman is a brilliant man with a very fine memory.  Though this angle probably eludes most of his readers, I doubt it's eluded him.

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