The Dark World of Krugman

We have an odd family friend. Fundamentally, she is a nice person and sports a very unconventional view of the world that occasionally emotes great insights into the human condition. She has a major flaw, however, one that she admits as a character flaw: she is an unabashed hater. Despite her husband, kids and friends being conservative, she targets her venom at conservatives. We who love her nonetheless, understand: “conservatives” remind her of her father, a redneck sort of fellow who was a very bad father. She blames him for her mother’s suicide, which occurred when she was very young.

 

If you dig deep into people’s psyches, you can often find the reason for visceral hatreds and, usually but not always, they have to do with childhood experiences. As Oprah (an abused child) famously remarked, some people seem incapable of shedding their childhood baggage.

 

So, what is it with Paul Krugman, once a brilliant economist and now a dark troll fulminating ugly thoughts under stone bridges in Liberal-land? This article, contributed by Peter Foster in Canada’s Financial Post, does a brilliant dissection of Krugman’s visceral hatreds and the warped views he espouses on economics, conservatives and climate change (some of which have been repeated rote on this blog by certain participants).

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/06/28/peter-foster-the-demons-in-krugmanomics/

 

What the article doesn’t do is explain from whence do Paul Krugman’s demons arise. What happened to cause his descent into madness?

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    http://www.bookwormroom.com/2010/01/08/the-paradoxical-effect-of-my-liberal-education/

    Found that while searching the net. 

    First Book was unsatisfied with some parts of her life, and thus sought to publish and write a book. Then she did it.

    Paul Krugman, on the other hand, got dissatisfied with some things and…. and what, someone remind me what he did. It’s not like he did “nothing”, but on the other hand, what he did never really resolved his issue either temporarily or permanently.

    Paul Krugman is one of those who once had a heart and refused to listen to it. He REFUSED to do what his soul earnestly desired. Because he was afraid. Because it took too much work. Because he just couldn’t face himself in the mirror and defeat his own inner demons. Because it was easier to listen to those demons and do as they bid, than fight against their desires.

    Cruel people are often the weakest individuals around. Not just mentally and spiritually, but often combat wise as well. At least compared to true warriors and killers.

  2. says

    Foster: On election night 2008, he and his even more uncompromisingly liberal wife, Robin Wells, who is also a Princeton economist, had a party at which effigies of their enemies were burned. Salem, anyone?
     
    Heh. Images of Krugman and other liberal economists with pitchforks. Actually, at a private party, Krugman had a small firepit, and everyone threw in scraps of paper with names of things they wanted to put in the past. 
      
    Foster
    : Like most liberal moralists, Mr. Krugman demonizes his opponents as not merely wicked and/or stupid/and or venal, but also “furious” because he is so right and they are so wrong. 
     
    Can anyone provide specifics on this? Whom does he call “wicked?” 
     

     
     
     

  3. says

    Danny, Z believes that if someone writes it, it becomes real. Thus when you create an effigy and burn it, you’re changing the world. Voodoo economics is essentially what the Left uses.

  4. abc says

    What a nonsensical article from a third-rate conservative editorialist!  He is certainly not qualified to evaluate Krugman’s economic contributions, much less psychoanalyze the guy.  And the same is true of Danny, who uses sleight of hand to link a crazed and hating friend to Krugman.  What slander!  Show me a psychologist that has actually provided a medical diagnosis, or stick with the economics of what Krugman writes.  Of course, to do that would cause poor Mr. Foster, as well as Danny, to completely lose the argument.

    For those unaware of his nonsense, Foster is a free market evangelical.  When confronted with scientific data that calls for closing of externalities and reining in of markets, he cries bloody murder.  Markets, according to his view, are always right, in both the accurate resource allocation sense and in the moral sense.  Critiqueing a scientific survey book on the risk of sudden population collapses, which draws from leading experts in the field, he claimed that the author knew little about economics and noted (albeit without any explanation much less proof) that markets are always sustainable and moral.  Foster has also been criticized for ignoring scientific data on climate change while casting unfounded aspersions at the scientific community.  A business writer, he appears to believe that corporations never can make decisions that are good for themselves privately but hurt the general welfare, although he has never written anything to actually prove that this risk is unfounded.  In short, he comes with a lot of his own irrational ideological baggage and clearly dislikes Krugman’s ideas, which highlight the failings of such thinking.

    This is why he uses terms like “dark world” and “dark side” when discussing liberal and Keynesian ideas.  Unfortunately, he knows far less about economics than Krugman, which is why he cannot actually attack Krugman’s ideas themselves, but attempts to claim that Krugman has become crazy.  And he does this in a very dishonest way.  For example, quoting Krugman’s accurate observation that conservative amounts to letting billionaires buy the policies that they want, Foster claims that there are billionaires on the other side promoting liberal causes.  However, liberals are attempting to limit campaign contributions while conservatives are granting corporations more rights to lobby politicians than individual people enjoy.  As a Canadian, he is perhaps to be forgiven for not understanding our special interest and lobbying problems, but certainly he does or should read US newspapers once in a while.  He also reaches for the old canard that Fannie and Freddie caused the financial meltdown, which is a sure sign that one is not in command of the facts on the ground–recall that those government agencies do not originate subprime debt and only packaged it after private banks did, so their involvement in the crisis if far below that of Wall Street banks and an abdicating regulatory apparatus.  But no matter, Freddie and Fannie sound the right ideological narrative, so he goes with that anyway. 

    Foster goes on with many gross mischaracterizations of liberal thought (e.g., that Obamacare is justified because of the legacy of slavery), but the worst is when he argues that Krugman’s idol has shifted from Adam Smith to Naomi Klein.  What Foster apparently doesn’t know, since he knows far less about economics than he thinks, is that Adam Smith wrote a lot in his epic Wealth of Nations about the need for the very things that Krugman is calling for:  regulations, public goods like education, decent treatment of labor–given its important contribution to capitalism, trust in public markets.  Much of Adam Smith is ignored by conservatives who just want to cherry pick the laissez-faire parts.  But they take Smith out of context.  Even his invisible hand metaphor is not the infallible, sustainable and always moral thing that they claim it is.  Smith wrote an entirely separate tome, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which paints a very different picture of reality from the profit maximizing, let the markets reign description seen throughout Foster’s writing.  So his closing attack on Krugman is not only off the mark, but it reveals how little he actually understands about economics himself.

    So why does Foster, who, unlike Krugman, lacks the economics understanding to justify his belief that markets should not be regulated and controlled, show so much hostility toward those that call for such limits on laissez-faire capitalism?  Perhaps he is the one, rather than Krugman, who has a hatred problem.  Perhaps he ought to go have himself checked out by a qualified psychiatrist.  In any case, his attack on Krugman is so weak that it isn’t even worth discussing.  THat it finds its way on Bookwormroom.com merely reflects the continuing problem of conservatives wanting to read what they agree with, although it is demonstrably false, rather than what the reality is.  Fantasy narrative.  Again and again and again. 

  5. abc says

    I love Krugman.  I love his unique willingness to break that Taoist adage:  those that know don’t speak, while those that speak don’t know.  That he is willing to roll with the ignorant pigs like Foster, which is a great risk for him but riskless pleasure to Foster, is a huge service to our country, even if you don’t know it.  We need a similar figure in the climate science debate, since the 97% silent majority of experts worried about global warming need to break their silence…

  6. Charles Martel says

    Let us review abc’s memes:

    —Centralized planning is good. It is scientific.

    —God is a hoax bcause he is unscientific.

    —AGW is not a hoax. It is scientific.

    —Fetuses are not human. They become human through the scientific principle of “I will let this non-human be born.”

    —Conservatives are dolts. They are not scientific.

    —All my friends are experts in their fields. Dropping their names is an accepted part of scientific discourse.

    —It is not scientific to use ad hominems in arguments. Unless I use them. Then it is scientific.

    —Mistaking my near-hysteria for lack of control (thus the erroneous assumption that I am young) is an assault on science. When science takes over, you will all be drafted for medical experiments.

  7. Zhombre says

    –Centralized planning of fetuses would be good if, for valid scientific reasons,we allow them to be born.  If there is appropriate frontal lobe development that distinguishes them from people born in Missouri or Alabama and similar places. 

    –Conservatives are not human. They should be aborted.  At least their ideas should.  And Sarah Palin.

    —AGW is not a hoax. It is God and Al Gore is its profit and makes profits.

    –Great wits to near-hysteria are allied. I can’t stress this enough. 

    –Womens equality is scientific and a good idea except for the aforementioned Palin, Michele Bachmann and Ann Coulter. Coulter especially should be regarded as unwanted fetus that got away.

    – Nothing says I love humanity like an ad hominem attack on people who don’t love humanity because they have unscientific, conservative ideas.

  8. Danny Lemieux says

    Zhombre notes: –Centralized planning of fetuses would be good if, for valid scientific reasons,we allow them to be born.  If there is appropriate frontal lobe development that distinguishes them from people born in Missouri or Alabama and similar places.

    Silly, silly Zhombre. Donchaknow that it’s not frontal lobe development that distinguishes people born in flyover country but “low-sloping foreheads”? The NYT said so.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/06/24/nyts_david_carr_middle_places_home_of_low_sloping_foreheads.html

  9. suek says

    Re: #11 and #12…
     
    And yet he states that he himself is not a scientist.  With such an admiration for science, why not?  Lacking the ability to pursue that avenue of occupation?
     
    Almost like worshiping at the altar of Science.
     
    Just exactly what _is_ science?  what is its starting point??  Is there any endpoint?  goal?  purpose?
     
    Who qualifies as a scientist?

  10. says

    Suek, neither Z or A have STEM training or formal education. One notices that their certainty and self-righteousness concerning being right, is indirectly proportional to how much they are lacking in understanding scientific methodology.

    It’s like primitive villagers in the jungle believing the White Man is a God because he has sticks that speak fire and death. The less they understand, the more superstitious they become in trying to find some made up explanation that fits their world view.

    The Japanese have said once that admiration is the farthest away from accurate truth. There are some exemptions and exceptions, but generally speaking, people don’t really see the truth of what it is they admire or worship. They place their holy entity on a pedestal and when it falls off, they get all panicky and attempt to rationalize the issue.

  11. Danny Lemieux says

    Ymarsaker observes “It’s like primitive villagers in the jungle believing the White Man is a God because he has sticks that speak fire and death. The less they understand, the more superstitious they become in trying to find some made up explanation that fits their world view.”

    Well, a number of people have likened Leftism to a cargo cult, whereby (for example), one only needs strange incantations to be performed by a community organizer in order to revive economies, heal the planet, bring peace to the world and such. All you need is faith in hope and change! 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult_science

     

  12. says

    First time I’ve heard of that. But I wasn’t much invested in Richard Feynman or archeology. They were interesting side topics I glanced through as a side effect of learning about the Manhattan project and social biology/psychology. Feynman contributed more than is popularly known to nuclear chain reactions. Without him, I don’t think the Manhattan Project would have been completed in time, Einstein or no Einstein. Feynman’s a real scientist, and his conclusions and observations match my own. That’s two points going for him already.

    To digest and compress the concept of cargo cults, science can either be done deductively or inductively. Meaning, either one can produce a theory and then find results that match it, or one can study the results of the data on the ground, and find a theory to match the data. Humans being what they are, the more science becomes “inductive”, the more people play to their own prejudices at the expense of truth or “honesty” as Feynman termed it (that would be intellectual honesty under epistemology).

    For science to be of the most use and to obtain the highest accuracy, science has to continually question its own traditional premises, axioms, theories, model, assumptions, and even laws that everyone agrees is true such as Newton’s Laws. Inductive logic, however, assumes that the theory or assumption in play is correct, and then fits the results to the theory in a sort of “if A, then B will happen”. This is the opposite methodology of physical science and is usually used in the absence of hard data. If you don’t have any data to work off of, then you can only make up theories and experiment to see if data matches theory. If you have data, then you can analyze the data and come up with a theory, and then try to reproduce the experiment matching theory to data.

    Fake science, however, uses a more distorted version of inductive logic. By putting things in stone and placing a divine impromptu on the theory, law, or axiom, there’s no give or flexibility in coming up with new data. Because new data can only either confirm the hypothesis or disprove it, and there’s no way we can tolerate disproving the axiom that has been set in stone and declared divine truth.

    This is why people who subscribe to the methodology found in fake science, render themselves into nothing less than ridiculous clowns fit for a toddler birthday party when they speak about “faith” in religion being blind. Fake science and rendering an axiomatic “truth” immune to experimentation and new found data, is the same methodology as believing in a god simply because you want a god to believe in. It has less to do with ascribing truth to the physical universe and more to do with satisfying the eternal human desire for self-gratification, ego stroking, and laziness.

    The distinction is that fake scientific practitioners don’t know how to do real science, so they don’t even understand what you mean when you talk about these issues. They think their fake science is the “real science”.

  13. says

    Danny Lemieux: Well, a number of people have likened Leftism to a cargo cult, whereby (for example), one only needs strange incantations to be performed by a community organizer in order to revive economies, heal the planet, bring peace to the world and such. All you need is faith in hope and change! 

    Well, such behavior isn’t confined to the Left, as the inordinate faith some people on the Right place in markets to solve all problems, for instance. Of course you are probably using a private definition of “Leftist,” so it’s hard to tell. Your use of the term cargo cult seems a bit off, too. Cargo cult isn’t mere incantation, but has to do with repeating actions that have been seen to generate positive results in the past (pure induction, rather than hypothetico-deduction). 

  14. Danny Lemieux says

    Zach: “the inordinate faith some people on the Right place in markets to solve all problems, for instance. “

    Nobody that I know on the “Right” (using Zach’s definition thereof) believes that markets can solve all problems, but most problems…yes! At least, it certainly is worth a try. The periods of greatest economic growth and innovation have occurred in times and places where government interference in the marketplace was minimal and incorported private sector principles (e.g., cost-justification, competition) into its activities.

    For example, no conservative I know would propose that the military be a private sector initiative. However, the delegation of many tasks to private-sector contractors has rendered it far more effective and efficient.

    The most successful countries today are those with the greatest level of economic freedom, as this video points out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1U1Jzdghjk&feature=player_embedded#at=133

    Unfortunately, for the United States, the trend is in the wrong direction as we continue our quest for third-world status, while in thrall to the Liberal/Left cargo-cultists.

     

  15. says

    Danny Lemieux: Nobody that I know on the “Right” (using Zach’s definition thereof) believes that markets can solve all problems, but most problems…yes!

    While virtually nobody on the Right thinks that markets can solve all problems, likewise, virtually nobody on the Left thinks that government can solve all problems. What you are doing is comparing the moderate Right with the most extreme views on the Left, a strawman.
     
    Danny Lemieux: The periods of greatest economic growth and innovation have occurred in times and places where government interference in the marketplace was minimal and incorported private sector principles (e.g., cost-justification, competition) into its activities.

    And market panics, and the greatest extremes of poverty. That’s why nearly all advanced economies are mixed systems. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: The most successful countries today are those with the greatest level of economic freedom,

    The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal rank countries according to economic freedom. Notably, Canada and Denmark are considered more free, yet have extensive public sectors. Ireland also surpasses the U.S. in economic freedom, but has one of the smallest public sectors among developed countries, and has just experienced an economic implosion. Other mixed economies, such as the Netherlands, U.K., Japan and Germany are not far behind in terms of economic freedom, and are quite successful overall.
    http://www.heritage.org/index/Ranking
     

  16. Moose says

    I’m curious. Of all of those countries that are brought up as examples of shining economic freedom, to what countries are they allied with militarily? Who protects that so-called freedom, and who pays for it?

  17. Danny Lemieux says

    Zach: And market panics, and the greatest extremes of poverty…

    Left alone, market panics soon right themselves on their own. The crash of ’29 was actually very short-lived and on its way to correcting itself until Hoover and then FDR interfered and extended the market crash into a decade-long depression. 

    As far as the greatest “extremes of poverty”, nonsense. The poor in this country lives lifestyles considered middle- to upper-middle class in most of the world.

  18. says

    Danny Lemieux: Left alone, market panics soon right themselves on their own.
     
    Soon, as in after banks fail, businesses close, jobs are lost, and homes are lost to foreclosures. For instance, the panic of 1893 resulted in widespread unemployment that lasted from 1893 to 1898.
     
    Danny Lemieux: As far as the greatest “extremes of poverty”, nonsense.
     
    When someone who has worked and played by the rules, loses their job, sees their equity suddenly evaporate, and their life savings dwindle away, alkl through no fault of their own, they are being impoverished. 
     
    YmarsakarZ is involved in redistributing wealth 
     
    Um, no. Redistribution has been from the middle classes to the upper classes.
    http://www.thewe.cc/thewei/_/images11/us_rich_scandal/income_inequality_us.jpe
     

  19. says

    Charles Martel: Was Zach{riel} going to bother interpreting the graph he linked to?

    Be happy to! (And we’re glad to see that some of your last post made it past the spam-filter. The scribes say they were quite excited to see that your comment comprised less than 50% personal attacks.)  
     
    At the top of the graph, it says “Income Inequality.” Notice the peaks, one leading up to the Great Depression, and the other leading up to the Great Recession. The Gini Index is a standard statistical measure of dispersion, in this case, disparity in income. A high Gini index implies that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer with fewer in the middle class. Here’s another look at the same trend. 

    Top 1% Share of Income
    http://acivilamericandebate.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/top-1-share-of-income-us1.png

  20. Charles Martel says

    Now, now Zach. As the room’s resident Strelnikov, you have no emotions, so don’t let my friendly snark get to you.

    (By the way, all of my posts make it past the spam filter. That’s because I actually have something to say that comes from my own thoughts and insights, as opposed to your endlessly cadged, rehashed, and downright expropriated boilerplate.)

    Now back to your chart: Usually you let other people’s hard work do your work for you, so it’s neat when you interpret their labor. However, your explanation shows, once again, your problems with handling language. “The poor get poorer” is one of your unexamined cliches that you think is sufficient to make your case. Using that phrase, I would assume as income disparity has grown over the past years, the poor are now living at a far lower standard than they were in, say, 1980, or 1960. Could you show us how? Is there a chart somewhere that shows how much poorer the poor are now compared to, say, 40 years ago?

    Or perhaps you meant to say relatively poorer, which, of course opens a huge can of worms for you.  

  21. says

    Was Zach{riel} 

    Z says he doesn’t remember doing that any more.  Anyone care to take a guess why Z keeps adding his full and official name whenever he quotes people that shorten it?

  22. Gringo says

    One point about the poor and income inequality in the US is that there is a BIG supply of illegal aliens in the US (at least from the perspective where I live)  which do at least several things: 1) a a big influx of poor people and 2) they depress wages.

    ¿Me entendés, pana?
     
    A further point about income inequality. When the tax code got changed circa 1987, more income got reported instead of being tax sheltered. This resulted in more income tax being collected from the upper bracket – even with the lower rate- and greater income inequality shown, even though it was just a year to year change.
     

  23. Danny Lemieux says

    You would expect median incomes to stagnate as government expropriates a larger and larger portion of the GDP and sucks the life out of the private sector. Look around the world, it is full of examples.

  24. says

    Danny Lemieux: You would expect median incomes to stagnate as government expropriates a larger and larger portion of the GDP and sucks the life out of the private sector. Look around the world, it is full of examples.

    You had said that “The most successful countries today are those with the greatest level of economic freedom“. We pointed out that countries with similar measures of economic freedom as the U.S. also sometimes have large government sectors. It is quite apparent an active public sector can coexist with a robust market. And taking your suggestion to “look around the world,” it’s clear that the most successful economies are mixed economies. 

  25. Danny Lemieux says

    So, Zach, the higher the percentage of public sector as percent of GDP, the better off the country? If we all worked for the government, everything would be hunky dory?
     
     

  26. Charles Martel says

    Zach: A high Gini index implies that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer with fewer in the middle class.

    Still waiting for you to explain how the poor get poorer when you’ve now denied that was what you were saying. Income disparity has nothing to do with how poor somebody is materially, only relatively. Get it?

  27. says

    Danny Lemieux: So, Zach{riel}, the higher the percentage of public sector as percent of GDP, the better off the country? If we all worked for the government, everything would be hunky dory?

    Precisely wrong.  Please reread our comments about robust markets. 

    Charles Martel: Still waiting for you to explain how the poor get poorer when you’ve now denied that was what you were saying.

    We were speaking of relative poverty, but your point is reasonable. Not to minimize the suffering associated with poverty; the loss of jobs, homes, limited opportunities for children of the poor; the U.S. has some social safety net programs to prevent the worst forms of deprivation.  

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