Paul Krugman has sunk to a subterranean depth of pettiness in his New York Times post calling Austrians
The new Larouchies:
Hmm. I’m fairly accustomed to having speaking events disrupted by Larouchies (when I was in Cambridge a while back we had a guy yelling about banana fungus, among other things, who had to be shouted down by the audience).
But last night at Baruch the problem was Austrian economics/Ron Paul people who just wouldn’t stop talking.
On the whole, I might prefer the banana fungus.
This is not the first time Krugman has eschewed openly addressing criticism, and opted instead to snidely and obliquely intimate that his critics are “crazies”; back in June, when he could no longer ignore the attention his pro-housing bubble quotes from 2001-2002 were getting, he responded with a post headlined “And I was on the grassy knoll, too” lumping his critics with the tinfoil hat crowd. But that is nothing compared to the sliminess of associating Austrian economics, a rich and accomplished tradition, even by the mainstream’s skewed standards, with a personality cult like the LaRouche movement.
Like the children of a puerile father, several people in the comments carried on in the same disgusting manner.
Dr. Paul Krugman,
You have still refused to put forth any effort into understanding the “Austrian” theory of capital and money. Even if you do not agree with their overall conclusions, it nevertheless holds true that “Austrian” scholarship in these two areas have “discovered” some very important principles. There is no doubt that Austrian theory on capital and money was held in very high regards up until even the 1940s, and don’t forget that Friedrich Hayek won the Nobel Prize in Economics for “his” business cycle theory.
You have published a few critiques of Austrian theory, but you have refused to even look at the responses. You are proving to be very irrational.
Instead of partaking in such childish activities, such as sniping at Austrians from the safety of your blog, would it not be more productive to attack them head on? I am sure you have many good things to say in such a debate. The problem is that you seem unwilling to do so. Because of this, I think that your reputation is slowly collapsing.
Another commenter, “Dan”, called Krugman out on his shameful modus operandi:
The Austrian economics / Ron Paul crowd has been right about so many things that you have been wrong about, that it’s more advisable for you to pretend they don’t exist, than to engage them.
For some great critiques of Dr. Krugman, please check out Lilburne’s archive at mises.org.
In my own response (still pending moderation), I address a couple of the commenters who aped Krugman’s snide dismissiveness:
Thank you Dan for linking to my archive.
To “A fan in NY” and “M”,
You should know the “crazies” in the Austrian tradition helped revolutionize economics with subjective marginal utility value theory (Menger), and did so for the BETTER (unlike Keynes), played a huge role in developing time preference and capital theory (Bohm-Bawerk and Fetter), connected monetary theory with subjective value theory (Mises), predicted the Great Depression (Mises), took the lead in the calculation debate over socialism (Mises and Hayek), and predicted the present crisis (Peter Schiff was only the most televised Austrian to do so).
Meanwhile the “respectable and sane” Keynes and Krugman believe burying bottles of cash in coal mines would have a net salutary effect on the economy (for an overview this and other gems to be found in Krugman’s Keynesianism read http://mises.org/daily/3583). And yes, Paul Krugman really did voice support for a housing bubble as I demonstrate in this article: http://mises.org/daily/3539
Krugman’s tactics are reminiscent of those of Gustav Schmoller, Carl Menger’s adversary in the Methodenstreit (the struggle over economic methods in the late 19th century), who wouldn’t deign to actually directly debate Menger, but would instead simply let his opinion be known, and then let his position at the top of the academic heap in the German-speaking world do the rest. In his introduction to Menger’s Principle’s of Economics, F.A. Hayek related an illustrative anecdote regarding how Schmoller conducted himself:
The crowning offence from the Austrian point of view was given by Schmoller himself who, on the appearance of Menger’s pamphlet, took the probably unprecedented step of announcing in his journal that, although he had received a copy of the book for review, he was unable to review it because he had immediately returned it to the author.
When you’re on top, there’s no need to debate when you can merely snub or jeer; or so is the thinking of university doyens like Schmoller and Krugman. But history has not smiled on Schmoller, and neither will it likely smile on an intellectual charlatan and bully like Krugman.
Here’s hoping that what Lew Rockwell wrote of Hans Mayer will prove equally true of Paul Krugman:
He played the game and that was all he did. He thought he won, but history has rendered a different judgment.