Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Justin Fox on Greg Mankiw on Paul Krugman

Interesting stuff:
I read one of Paul Krugman's New York Times columns, and he said something like, "Hubbard said he was leaving to be with his family, but you could see the knives sticking out of his back." The suggestion was that he's being kicked out. I knew that wasn't true. I knew I got the job in large part because Glenn recommended me. So here we have Krugman sitting in some office in New Jersey making a supposition about what's going on in Washington and then writing for the New York Times, with readers presuming that he knew something.

I had Paul as a teacher at MIT. And when I was at CEA in '82 and '83, he was there as well. I was a junior staffer in the Reagan administration ... At that time he was a brilliant economist. I thought he'd win a Nobel prize. I think there's a good chance he still will. His early work on international trade theory deserves it. It's strange what's happened since then. When he became a New York Times columnist, he decided to abandon writing about economics as an economist does. He's very liberal, which is fine--most of my friends at Harvard are liberal--but whenever someone disagrees with him, his first inclination is to think that person is either a liar or a fool. It's amazing to me that an academic would behave that way. The one thing that I value about academia is open-mindedness, the premise that all ideas and different points of view should be considered. No one has a monopoly on the truth. The one defining characteristic of a good professor is to be open to all viewpoints.

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