Monday, June 20, 2011

Creating caricatures is "listening"? Only in Wonderland!

It seems that Paul Krugman really does listen to what others who are not Keynesians have to say. Really! Why do I know that? Krugman himself says it:
In my experience with these things – which I find both within economics and more broadly – is that if you ask a liberal or a saltwater economist, “What would somebody on the other side of this divide say here? What would their version of it be?” A liberal can do that. A liberal can talk coherently about what the conservative view is because people like me actually do listen. We don’t think it’s right, but we pay enough attention to see what the other person is trying to get at.

The reverse is not true. You try to get someone who is fiercely anti-Keynesian to even explain what a Keynesian economic argument is, they can’t do it. They can’t get it remotely right. Or if you ask a conservative, “What do liberals want?” You get this bizarre stuff – for example, that liberals want everybody to ride trains because it makes people more susceptible to collectivism. You just have to look at the realities of the way each side talks and what they know. One side of the picture is open-minded and sceptical. We have views that are different, but they’re arrived at through paying attention. The other side has dogmatic views.
In his own blog, Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux has his own reply to Krugman, and you can read it here. Now, for a guy who insists calling the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle the "Hangover Theory" (and then explaining it in caricature form and simply refusing to acknowledge that Austrians do not explain it in the terms Krugman uses), his statement is pretty rich. Furthermore, I looked at some past posts of my blog and found a number of places where Krugman has declared that opposition to his points is motivated, at least in large part, by racism and hatred of others. (Last year, Krugman insisted that anyone opposed to QE2 had that viewpoint because that person wanted others to suffer and be out of work.)

So, despite Krugman's insistence that HE and HIS FRIENDS all are the epitome of open-mindedness and that everyone else is a dolt and idiot, I let his own columns and his own comments speak for themselves.

I have met a number of economists who won the Nobel, including Krugman, James Buchanan, Gary Becker, Milton Friedman, and F.A. Hayek. Interestingly, the latter four were gracious to their intellectual opponents and took great efforts to be able to explain differing points of view. And I never saw those four use the kind of attack language that Krugman regularly uses in his columns, articles, blog posts, and interviews.

8 comments:

Bob Roddis said...

Krugman is simply preaching to his profoundly anti-intellectual Keynesian cohort. No Keynesian even comprehends the concept of economic calculation so they sure as heck don't understand Austrian theory.

Major_Freedom said...

Not to mention the lack of understanding the Austrian theory of capital, entrepreneurship, and catallactics.

How can Krugman possibly claim that his minions understand Austrian theory when he himself is completely clueless?

Bob Roddis said...

Keynesians will not even allow themselves to think for even a second about basic Austrian concepts. You cannot drag them kicking and screaming through the obvious logical progression of argumentation. Ever. Has anyone EVER found a Keynesian who understood the concepts of ignorant acting man and/or economic calculation? (Without understanding that, the rest makes no sense.) There is no conceivable refutation of it. To refute those axioms, Keynesians would have to argue and prove that people actually do have the type of knowledge Austrians claim that they cannot conceivably have. But the entire "progressive" narrative is based almost completely upon the masses being idiots in need of protection from their college-educated betters. So, as a starting point, Keynesians would have to argue that people are not as inherently ignorant as the Austrians insist but that they are still stupid enough to have their real wages lowered by money dilution without knowing what hit them. And that the cohort running the central bank is a priori smarter than average people.

What a predicament these Keynesians face as their paradigm collapses.

Major_Freedom said...

So, as a starting point, Keynesians would have to argue that people are not as inherently ignorant as the Austrians insist but that they are still stupid enough to have their real wages lowered by money dilution without knowing what hit them. And that the cohort running the central bank is a priori smarter than average people.

I think that assumption is a desperate attempt to salvage their ideology, which is that they want humans to be controlled by violence. This of course leads to contradictions, which is why they have to argue that people are both intelligent (those in government who use violence) and stupid (the civilians who are subjected to it).

They NEED people to remain ignorant of this assumption of theirs, or else the gig is up. This is why the worst enemy of Keynesianism is knowledge and education. As civilian wage earners become more and more aware that they are in fact being ripped off by what the Keynesians claim is "necessary to promote employment," Keynesian economics becomes nothing but dishonest propaganda and justifications for state violence. This is precisely why Keynesian economics can only last as long as the people are ignorant to what is happening in the state.

Daniel Hewitt said...

Strange - it wasn't that long ago that Krugman said that he didn't read anything from the came from other side of the aisle.

Some have asked if there aren’t conservative sites I read regularly. Well, no. I will read anything I’ve been informed about that’s either interesting or revealing; but I don’t know of any economics or politics sites on that side that regularly provide analysis or information I need to take seriously. I know we’re supposed to pretend that both sides always have a point; but the truth is that most of the time they don’t. The parties are not equally irresponsible; Rachel Maddow isn’t Glenn Beck; and a conservative blog, almost by definition, is a blog written by someone who chooses not to notice that asymmetry. And life is short …

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/other-stuff-i-read/

Lord Keynes said...

"And I never saw those four use the kind of attack language that Krugman regularly uses in his columns, articles, blog posts, and interviews. "

Oh, please.
Given your own rants regularly attack Krugman personally and often fail even to get Krugman's opinions right, the pot calling the kettle black springs to mind.

Lack of civility isn't confined to Krugman.

Mises, by many accounts, was a cantankerous old man, insulting even Milton Friedman.

Bob Roddis said...

With Mises being the world's smartest man and seeing his beloved Austria first taken over by Catholic fascists and then the Nazis with WWII subsequently engulfing Europe, if that were me, I could even see me becoming the slightest bit cantankerous:] Certainly Mises addressed every single minute dingbat statist argument in existence. Krugman runs and hides under the bed NEVER addressing basic Austrian concepts.

As a clown and fool, he’s truly a gift to our side.

Major_Freedom said...

Lord Keynes:

Oh, please. Given your own rants regularly attack Krugman personally and often fail even to get Krugman's opinions right, the pot calling the kettle black springs to mind.

The difference is that Krugman NEVER gets Austrian economics right. Anderson does get Krugman's arguments right almost all the time.