Well, yes, but….

Paul Krugman is annoyed that the media focuses on character instead of the issues in election coverage, especially because the one character trait that actually matters — intellectual integrity

Ohhh kaaaay.

Hardly an endorsement of a Clinton that, is it, calling for us to look to integrity?

There’s some sorta story about Krugman and the Clintons. Not sure of the details: something about how he should have (expected? Was offered then it was withdrawn?) a job in Bill administration but it never quite happened.

And he’s been positively venonmous about Robert Reich, who was in that admin.

17 comments on “Well, yes, but….

  1. I think you’ve observed before that Krugman, like many intellectuals, is hopeless once he steps outside his area.

    The fact is that 100 odd years ago there were lots of intellectuals in Britain who believed in eugenics – George Bernard Shaw, HG Wells, Keynes. So, let’s imagine Shaw stood on his “kill useless people” ticket. Who would vote for him? Not many people. Those “useless people” might include your father, brother or son.

    Today, there’s people who will do evil, but with democracy and mass media, know that they can’t go publicly saying things. And the public want to vet out those people. And one of the best ways is personality. Serial killers are nearly always socially awkward or messianic. It’s why Ed Miliband perhaps being a bit of a weirdo* does matter. People don’t want a PM who is going to flip out and launch a couple of Trident missiles somewhere because they pissed him off. Or someone who won’t send the troops in when it’s necessary.

    And politicians do things like bacon sandwich eating or dancing to music or playing sport to show how normal they are. That they aren’t a weirdo. But one problem is that it can then show that they are weirdos.

    It’s Hilary’s problem. She can go out into the countryside and make ads with people sitting around eating apple pie and drinking a beer, but she can’t make it look right like Bill, Dubya or Obama could.

    * I don’t think he’s actually that weird.

  2. Geoffers,

    What fucking cuts? We’re spending more than ever, still running a fucking huge deficit.

    And what the fuck do people like Krugman think we’ll be stimulating? Look, I’m all in favour of real investment: educating kids in skills so they can do higher value jobs, building a bridge across water so goods can travel more easily etc etc, but what investment is left? We just spent billions on new schools and hospitals. We’ve got a pretty decent road network. What is he thinking of that’s real investment that the state should be doing? Because all the other stuff, from super-duper NHS IT systems to the Dome and The Olympics and all those Millenium museums has been shown to have been about as good as when the KLF burnt a million quid. And we have decades of data that government picking winners doesn’t work.

    I’m not a Nobel prize winner, but how is UK government debt any different to personal debt? And who gives the advice of “spend more” when you’re heavily in debt?

  3. Krugman has a point, inasmuch as the US interstate network is crumbling. But spade ready jobs don’t happen fast enough. Years of design, planning permits, etc. By which time (we hope) the economy has bounced back anyway.

    The solution might appear to be to have some spade ready projects in mothballs, all ready for the next recession to give the economy a boost. However, if this stimulation would work in a future recession it would be just as useful now, so we should start work now if the benefit is worth the cost.

    So we end up with no spade ready projects and no real way of stimulating the economy except through the banks. (boo!)

    Another couple of rounds of Krugmanomics and we’ll be comprehensively f****d

  4. “I think you’ve observed before that Krugman, like many intellectuals, is hopeless once he steps outside his area.”

    Quite. Next time some idiot tells me “Einstein was a socialist” (who was aware of and didn’t much care about Soviet human rights abuses…) I’m itching to reply something to the effect of, “Interesting. And what was Karl Marx’s position on his contemporary Rankine’s molecular theories of thermodynamics?”

  5. bif,

    “The solution might appear to be to have some spade ready projects in mothballs, all ready for the next recession to give the economy a boost. However, if this stimulation would work in a future recession it would be just as useful now, so we should start work now if the benefit is worth the cost.”

    I suppose there might be an aspect of labour being cheaper in a recession, but yeah, you do those jobs when the cost/benefit kicks over in favour, wherever the economy is.

  6. For Krugman to talk about integrity …; well, at least it’s not Summers talking about it. Thank God for small mercies.

  7. I’m pretty sure that Krugman is one of the *last* people who should be calling on others to respect and focus on ‘intellectual integrity’.

  8. @The Stigler: May 2, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    What fucking cuts? We’re spending more than ever, still running a fucking huge deficit.

    Yes, but these are “political cuts” where “cut” == “reduced increase”. 🙂

  9. bif

    “Krugman has a point, inasmuch as the US interstate network is crumbling. But spade ready jobs don’t happen fast enough. Years of design, planning permits, etc. By which time (we hope) the economy has bounced back anyway.

    The solution might appear to be to have some spade ready projects in mothballs, all ready for the next recession to give the economy a boost. However, if this stimulation would work in a future recession it would be just as useful now, so we should start work now if the benefit is worth the cost.”

    I agree with previous comments that if the proposals were actually seriously useful they’d be in the pipeline already but that does not mean they’d be “spade-ready”.

    I have sometimes pondered that if we want to do a wee bit better than Keynes’s “burying money in the ground and paying people to dig it out”, we might have a national contingency plan to switch the entire transport network to driving on the right. Plenty of new motorway junctions etc with pre-emptive planning approval, just waiting for the devastating recession to strike, but no rush until then. Since construction tends to be hit badly during recessions, there’d soon be surplus construction capacity ready to hit the road. But it’s such a pointless change that there’s no point in doing it sooner.

  10. bloke in france – “But spade ready jobs don’t happen fast enough. Years of design, planning permits, etc. By which time (we hope) the economy has bounced back anyway.”

    Obama’s pointless stimulus deliberately did not fund much in the way of infrastructure partly because so few had planning approval but also because too many of those jobs would have gone to men. It was specifically decided not to provide so many jobs for working class men.

    When the government is this maliciously stupid, it doesn’t really matter what is or is not spade-ready.

    abacab – “And what was Karl Marx’s position on his contemporary Rankine’s molecular theories of thermodynamics?””

    Given Lysenko and the Left’s on-going war on Hate Facts, Marx probably did have a position and it is likely he wanted it banned.

  11. DocBud – “Sounds a bit racist.”

    Yeah but the good sort. Obama likes funding that sort.

    It is the shovel ready, I should say, that he doesn’t.

  12. It is the shovel ready, I should say, that he doesn’t.

    Although why he hates the Irish, I don’t know.

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