Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Keynesianism: The (near) 80-year-old fallacy

One of the things that interests me about Paul Krugman is his use of the word "fallacy" when applied to economics. When I first was learning about economic fallacies, I was taught that they are committed when people believe they can circumvent or negate the Law of Scarcity and the Law of Opportunity Cost.

This was neatly expressed in the acronym TANSTAFL, or "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Today, however, it seems that economics, or at least the "economics" of Paul Krugman, has "evolved" and "progressed" well beyond opportunity cost. How do I know? Krugman himself has told us.

In a recent blog post, he makes some interesting, if not outrageous, statements. (Come to think of it, Krugman makes lots and lots of outrageous statements.) He declares:
...when I was younger I firmly believed that economics was a field that progressed over time, that every generation knew more than the generation before.

The question now is whether that’s still true. In 1971 it was clear that economists knew a lot that they hadn’t known in 1931. Is that clear when we compare 2011 with 1971? I think you can actually make the case that in important ways the profession knew more in 1971 than it does now.
What happened in 1971? The U.S. Dollar collapsed as President Richard Nixon declared that suddenly it had come "under attack" by those evil "speculators." Nixon said nothing about the fact that the government, through the Federal Reserve System, had inflated the dollar for years in order to pay for the Great Society and the Vietnam War, and at the same time offering gold from the treasury to foreign governments at $35 an ounce.

Not surprisingly, U.S. gold reserves were fast dwindling and there was a run on the dollar itself, so Nixon did as one might expect Nixon to do: he blamed others and failed to tell the truth about what really was happening. Furthermore, he slapped down general wage and price controls in order to try to keep consumer prices from escalating.

Nixon had the public support of a lot of economists, even those who knew that his "economic plan" (then called Phase I) would be an inflationary disaster -- and it was. What economists "knew" in 1971, if one looks at the actions of the Fed and the president's economic advisers, was that government could inflate its way out of trouble, and the government could manage the economy through various edicts.

This was the day when John Kenneth Galbraith was the king of American economists, along with Paul Samuelson. Of course, what these men "knew" turned out to be utterly untrue. Government could not inflate its way out of trouble, and the 1970s, a decade when the U.S. economy lurched from one crisis to another, proved it.

However, I suspect that Krugman would have us believe that the price controls were brilliant, that all of the problems of the dollar in 1971 were due to speculators, and that had the government left price controls on everything, we would have enjoyed unparalleled prosperity. Or something like that.

His next statement, however, is a Classic Krugman Howler:
I’ve written a lot about the Dark Age of macroeconomics, of the way economists are recapitulating 80-year-old fallacies in the belief that they’re profound insights, because they’re ignorant of the hard-won insights of the past.

What I’d add to that is that at this point it seems to me that many economists aren’t even trying to get at the truth. When I look at a lot of what prominent economists have been writing in response to the ongoing economic crisis, I see no sign of intellectual discomfort, no sense that a disaster their models made no allowance for is troubling them; I see only blithe invention of stories to rationalize the disaster in a way that supports their side of the partisan divide. And no, it’s not symmetric: liberal economists by and large do seem to be genuinely wrestling with what has happened, but conservative economists don’t.
And what is the "enlightened" viewpoint? Why it is print money, bail out everyone, continue the fraud of heavily-subsidized "green energy" that Krugman and his friends insist will lead us to recovery, and have the federal government hire millions of people to engage in make work.

Now, since the General Theory was published first in 1936, it is only a 75-year-old fallacy. The "80-year-old "fallacies" apparently are things like the Law of Scarcity and the Law of Opportunity Cost. In Krugman's view, it is "progress" simply to say that when the economy is in recession, Opportunity Cost no longer holds, and that government can alleviate or even do away with Scarcity via the printing press.

Furthermore, Krugman has made it clear that anyone who might actually appeal to those "80-year-old fallacies" is immoral and has no conscience. Yeah, Krugman and the Really Smart People have done away with Scarcity simply by declaring it no longer exists, at least when government prints up the money.

Keynesianism is one big fallacy, and a cult fallacy at that. It violates the Law of Cause and Effect by declaring that effect really is cause. And it wants us to assume that work is nothing more than a transmission mechanism for money, and it does not matter what government pays people to do, just as long as it provides money so that they can spend it and make us prosperous.

This isn't economics. It is nonsense.

65 comments:

Pete said...

I've always thought that the best criticism of Paul Krugman is taking everything he says, and just switch "conservatives/rightwing/etc" with "me/my/etc."

American Patriot said...

"I find myself more and more relying for a solution of our problems on the invisible hand which I tried to eject from economic thinking twenty years ago."

The above quote is what Keynes said to Henry Clay (at Bank of England) on April 11th, 1946. It was the reflection of his hopes that Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' can help Britain out of the economic hole it is in. In other words, Keynes himself admitted his theories to be ineffective and full of fallacies.

Terms like scarcity or opportunity cost do not appear in the Keynesian lexicon. It must be wonderful to live in a fantasy world.

Anonymous said...

From what I can gather, your have based your writing on a constant criticism of Krugman for at least the least 8 years.

You seem obsessed by the man.

Mike Cheel said...

I think the Keynesians fall into two camps:

The rich and the demagogued.

The Keynesian economic policies are indeed working as intended.

The difference between the two camps is that the rich keep silent (because they know the truth) and the demagogued defend their religion openly.

Bob Roddis said...

Prof. Anderson is “obsessed” with helping the wrongfully accused and convicted on his primary blog:

http://williamlanderson.blogspot.com/

In any event, since Krugman is the most popular spokesman for the vile, dishonest and evil Keynesian doctrine currently afflicting mankind and leading to the collapse of civilization, what is wrong with being "obsessed" about it?

alaskaman said...

Great Bob,

And Krugman is the hyperbolic one per Anderson. You people are insane.

Bala said...

"And Krugman is the hyperbolic one per Anderson."

Krugman is the loudest and most heard voice of vulgar Keynesianism.

"You people are insane"

Ha Ha Ha!!! You're much worse than that, given that you swallow the Keynesian pig-swill day in and day out. You Keynesians remind me of the zombies in the movie Resident Evil. Evil oozing out of you, eating human flesh and infecting everyone you bite.

ekeyra said...

Bala,

Weren't you paying attention during resident evil? The zombies were the result of evil, remorseless corporations seeking profits by... um...well... i actually dont know how they planned to profit of zombie production, but the fact that they wanted to profit made them evil. The zombies were incidental. Bad example.

Mike Cheel said...

I'll assume alaskaman is in the demogogued camp...

William L. Anderson said...

That's right. We don't believe that Scarcity and Opportunity Cost have been repealed by the depression. That makes us insane, I guess.

alaskaman said...

ok let met get this straight. You frequently accuse Paul Krugman of demonizing people who do not agree with him. You claim that he persistently calls you anti-patriotic or anti-poor.

But, its ok for you to say that people who don't agree with you are - how did Bob put it - " vile, dishonest and evil" and "afflicting mankind and leading to the collapse of civilization?"

Now I am not sure where Krugman has really ever engaged in such hyperbolic name calling. Care to respond?

William L. Anderson said...

Bob is a commenter, like you. He does not write my posts, and is not responsible for them any more than I am responsible for his or your comments.

Paul Krugman does demonize people and he openly has claimed that people who are concerned about inflation are so because they want to see people out of work. You might want to ask him why he believes that, not me.

Krugman is a multi-millionaire who has stepped way out in the public discourse and also is pretty much of a political operative. When people do that, they have to expect others to respond, just as you have responded on this blog by claiming that I am insane.

It does not bother me to see you writing that; I make public statements and I permit people to make hyperbolic comments on my blog, and I usually don't censor them unless I think they are libelous or could cause real legal trouble.

Apparently, you believe I should censor Bob and let you say what you want.

Joe said...

For all the huffing and puffing against Krugman and Keynesian in generaly, I wonder how many people would visit this blog if the word "krugman" was left out. I'm guessing zero.

Pete said...

Joe, the title of the blog is "Krugman in Wonderland". Maybe you are blind and your braille machine doesn't tell you the blog title, but I can see, so I'll let you in on the secret.

Oh, and to act all hissy that there is a lot of Krugman bashing here is like complaining Bloomberg.com has stock market information. I wonder how many people would visit Bloomberg.com if it didn't? I'm guessing zero.

Did you get that on your braille machine?

Anonymous said...

Now I am not sure where Krugman has really ever engaged in such hyperbolic name calling. Care to respond?

There is this-
"Meanwhile, Boehner’s reply was as vile and dishonest as you might have expected."
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/meh-bleh-and-eek/

The worst of Krugman's bottom scraping is when he blames murders on those that he is idologically opposed to-
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/opinion/10krugman.html
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/assassination-attempt-in-arizona/
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/opinion/12krugman.html

Joe said...

Pete,

Apparently your sarcasm radar isn't working, so let me spell it out for you.

I find it funny that an obscure, undistinguished professor of economics at some podunk college hosts a blog dedicated to condescending criticism of a nobel laureate.

The premise of my earlier post was that this blogger's views would get little attention if he didn't incorporate the name of his far more accomplished nemesis in the title of this blog.

Do you get it now?

alaskaman said...

Anderson that is a pathetic response from a pathetic blog. Total cop out and lack of integrity. You, like Krugman, use the internet to express your personal opinions (or political directives) and that is not without consequence.

The fact that he is a millionaire is inconsequential. The fact that if you actually followed his blog it is full of much less invective than yours is. At least Krugman posts some economic analysis - this blog is dedicated to one person!

If you want to argue equivalency here you are grasping at straws. People on these blog comments deeply believe that anyone who disagrees with them somehow "does not understand basic Austrian principles" or is a - socialist, statist, totalitarian, fascist, evil, supporter of the state-sponsored swat team, leading to the collapse of civilization. That sounds like fringe to me. The inability (or unwillingness) to grasp nuance or subtlety but to seek an overarching convenient theme is trademark of the fringe.

So yes, people here can be insane while those who call them insane are not.

William L. Anderson said...

Gee, Joe, no one ever has used the "obscure" and "podunk" descriptions before. Is that supposed to bother me? Furthermore, it seems you are saying that only people at places like Princeton can be correct, since Princeton is "prestigious."

And, no, my response was not pathetic. My advice to the alaska guy is that if this blog makes him mad, he can read Conscience of a Liberal and feel good about himself.

Bob Roddis said...

I'm glad that my comment expressing my deeply held view that Keynesianism is a vile, dishonest and evil doctrine currently afflicting mankind and leading to the collapse of civilization has resulted in such a substantive analysis and refutation [Ha Ha! Anderson works at Frostburg/Podunk!]

Simply amazing.

alaskaman said...

So again let me get this straight. You, a professor of economics and supposed public intellectual can allow any vile, hyperbolic, and outlandish statement to be made on your blog and your only response is "tough, go somewhere else?"

Great intellectual honesty. Again, pathetic.

Bob Roddis said...

alaska man:

My critique is completely substantive.

The financial elites of this country, notably the Morgan, Rockefeller, and Kuhn, Loeb interests, were responsible for putting through the Federal Reserve System as a governmentally created and sanctioned cartel device to enable the nation's banks to inflate the money supply in a coordinated fashion, without suffering quick retribution from depositors or noteholders demanding cash.

Recent researchers, however, have also highlighted the vital supporting role of the growing number of technocratic experts and academics, who were happy to lend the patina of their allegedly scientific expertise to the elite's drive for a central bank. To achieve a regime of big government and government control, power elites cannot achieve their goal of privilege through statism without the vital legitimizing support of the supposedly disinterested experts and the professoriate. To achieve the Leviathan State, interests seeking special privilege and intellectuals offering scholarship and ideology must work hand in hand.


http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard207.html

For 99 years, the libertarian position has been that the establishment narrative that the free market leads to monopoly and unemployment is a baseless fraud and hoax. The idea that passing out funny money and government debt cure the non-existent free market unemployment “problem” is a ruse designed to confuse and intimidate average people to think that economics is incomprehensible.

Hayek won the Nobel Prize for his work on the ABCT the gist of which is that the major economic problems of society are caused by central banks and Keynesian style policy. I guess he just said it in a nice way.

Here is Hayek (on Firing Line, 1977) explaining how scientific Keynesianism swept the world:

Hayek: You see, another political element was that, of course, politicians just lapped the argument and Keynes taught them if you outspend your income and run a deficit, you are doing good to the people in general. The politicians didn’t want to hear anything more than that -- to be told that irresponsible spending was a beneficial thing and that’s how the thing became so influential.

http://hayekcenter.org/?p=2701

Keynesians and other statists have not responded with fair and substantive argument but with insults. Apparently on the entire planet, LK is the only Keynesian with a passing familiarity of Austrian Concepts (and his “understanding” is purposefully superficial).

You know nothing and offer nothing. Go away.

William L. Anderson said...

Well, Mr. Alaska, I am sorry that my allowance of free speech disappoints you to the point where you engage in name-calling and insults, but I let you call me what you will, and I don't erase your comments, do I?

Please explain why that is pathetic? Look, Krugman censors comments that he doesn't like, so when you read his blog and columns, you also can feel good knowing that Krugman is making sure that his comments sections constitute an Amen Chorus. I never have been comfortable with allowing only supporters to comment on my blog, or erasing comments that I don't like.

Anonymous said...

Alaskaman: "At least Krugman posts some economic analysis"

Really? When and where? I can't find any. In fact, I've never seen any objective economic analysis from Krugman. And I'm not the only one:

Per The Atlantic, Bloomberg, and Niall Ferguson...

"According to Harvard professor of economics Robert Barro, Krugman "has never done any work in Keynesian macroeconomics" and makes arguments that are politically convenient for him. Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson expressed doubt that Krugman changes his position on fiscal deficits depending on the party in power. Ferguson also criticized Krugman for advocating fiscal stimulus in already highly indebted economy, warning that the United States will experience a Japanese-style 'lost decade'. Nobel laureate Edward Prescott has charged that Krugman "doesn't command respect in the profession", as "no respectable macroeconomist" believes that economic stimulus works."

Daniel Hewitt said...

The inability (or unwillingness) to grasp nuance or subtlety but to seek an overarching convenient theme is trademark of the fringe.
-alaskaman

Today Krugman made a post that glamorized General Sherman's sadistic "March To The Sea". Could you please explain the nuances and subtleties that make genocide cool when employed by a person like Sherman?

alaskaman said...

Nobody is arguing against free speech, but for responsibility in the public sphere - especially from someone who calls themselves a professor.

You feed the fire instead of acting as an agent of rational, balanced, and yes - sane discourse.

alaskaman said...

Daniel - you are so funny! You are doing exactly what I said the fringe would do.

Krugman made a post about the use of census material during Sherman's march. He at no point glamorized it. It takes subtlety to see this, no?

Bob Roddis said...

Re: Sherman's march

This happens after I've explained to Kroogie about Sherman's war on puppies and dogs?

http://tinyurl.com/3ous49g

Maybe it's because Krugman owns the world's largest cat?

http://www.menandcats.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/krugman_crop.jpg

Mike Cheel said...

"So again let me get this straight. You, a professor of economics and supposed public intellectual can allow any vile, hyperbolic, and outlandish statement to be made on your blog and your only response is "tough, go somewhere else?"

Alaskaman is a fan of censorship.

"Nobody is arguing against free speech, but for responsibility in the public sphere - especially from someone who calls themselves a professor.

Really. You just were. Oh wait I see it. Responsibility. Right there in the middle somewhere...

You should run for office. You would fit right in with them.

Daniel Hewitt said...

Lets roll the tape....

I couldn’t help thinking of another cartography-Civil War story, the way Sherman used data from the 1860 Census to plan his March to the Sea, using county-level data to plot a route that would take him through areas with enough grain and livestock to feed his army.

Part of what has always fascinated me about the Civil War is that like World War II, it was a war in which the basically non-military culture of modern America — which at that point didn’t include the South — used its mastery of the arts of peace and production to overcome more warlike adversaries. And it’s especially gratifying given my interests to see that economic geography was one of those crucial arts...

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/29/mapping-through-georgia/

Not only was this massacre a "good genocide", economics was incorporated into it also!

And a reminder of how PK feels about the Civil War:
I agree; the Civil War and World War II are the two great moral wars of our history, and they should be remembered with pride.
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/how-should-we-think-of-the-civil-war/

Bala said...

"You feed the fire instead of acting as an agent of rational, balanced, and yes - sane discourse."

But how does one have rational, balanced, sane discourse with zombies who have evil oozing out of them, eat human flesh and infect everyone they bite, thus making them zombies as well?

And this one really got me!!!

"At least Krugman posts some economic analysis"

ROFLMFAO

Pete said...

Joe:

I find it funny that an obscure, undistinguished professor of economics at some podunk college hosts a blog dedicated to condescending criticism of a nobel laureate.

I don't, because I don't suffer from adhering to logical fallacies, such as the fallacy of authority, and ad hominem.

The premise of my earlier post was that this blogger's views would get little attention if he didn't incorporate the name of his far more accomplished nemesis in the title of this blog.

Far more "accomplished" economist in spreading destructive economic fallacies, while the "unaccomplished" economist spreads constructive economic principles? Sure, I'll give you that. Anderson is far less accomplished in that way.

Do you get it now?

No, I still don't get it. Keep going please. It provides for some hilarious entertainment.

Pete said...

In case anyone is interested, after a couple of marathon days of back and forth, I think I finally convinced our good friend LK, Post-Keynesian Austrian hating blogger extraordinaire, that ABCT is correct:

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2011/09/if-fractional-reserve-banking-is.html?showComment=1317367461538#c8778393986281846471

To wit:

"you can of course make a consequentialist argument for regulating FRB in the way I have described above by considering owing to its pro-cyclical affects on the business cycle."

Bob Roddis, you're welcome.

Lord Keynes said...

"I think I finally convinced our good friend LK, Post-Keynesian Austrian hating blogger extraordinaire, that ABCT is correct:"

No, you haven't, but a nice joke.

FRB is pro-cyclical because it can fuel debt leveraged asset bubbles and the FR bank collapses destroy people's savings, contracting aggregate demand.

Bob Roddis said...

Pete:

Yes, but.

LK believes that any and all free voluntary human behavior leads inexorably to a failure of aggregate demand and requires a regime of compulsory monopoly funny money dilution with “regulation” by people selected for that purpose by the very same people who are too dumb to avoid a lack of aggregate demand in the first place (and it’s all backed up by SWAT teams).

LK:

Who’s talking about “banning” FRB? I think FRB would collapse instantaneously when people try to spend the notes. If these notes didn’t have warnings in large print that they were quite different than warehouse receipts for specie, they would be fraudulent. With the warning, no one would accept them. Heck, no stores take Canadian currency even here on the Canadian border in Michigan. Hell, no one takes travelers checks anymore.

As LK says:

If people wanted a 100% warehouse paying no interest or largely banks with only time deposits, then the market would have provided those businesses.

Pete said...

"I think I finally convinced our good friend LK, Post-Keynesian Austrian hating blogger extraordinaire, that ABCT is correct:"

No, you haven't, but a nice joke.

FRB is pro-cyclical because it can fuel debt leveraged asset bubbles and the FR bank collapses destroy people's savings, contracting aggregate demand.

FRB doesn't only fuel debt levered asset bubbles.

FRB that affects assets prices will also affect capital goods prices. Stocks and bonds are not just traded for kicks. They are not divorced from the real economy.

You're making an ABCT argument.

Joe said...

"Furthermore, it seems you are saying that only people at places like Princeton can be correct, since Princeton is prestigious."

Actually, what I'm saying is that listening to you attack Krugman is like listening to some third-string bench-warmer tell Derek Jeter that he's doing it all wrong. Maybe if you contributed something more to the field of economics than an angry blog for malcontents then your criticism of Kruman would carry more weight. Until you do, you'll always be that jealous bench-warmer venting his envy on the star player.

Mike Cheel said...

"Maybe if you contributed something more to the field of economics than an angry blog for malcontents then your criticism of Kruman would carry more weight."

Another one in the demagogue camp.

Anonymous said...

Joe: "Maybe if you contributed something more to the field of economics than an angry blog for malcontents then your criticism of Kruman would carry more weight."

Maybe if Krugman actually contributed something to the field of economics, then you'd have a point, however a significant and substantiated purpose of this blog is to point out he's not really an economist, never has been.

ekeyra said...

Dont you guys ever feel bad fighting opponents whose strengths arent, you know, reading comprehension, or critical thinking, or logic?

alaskaman said...

@Mike - your grasping at straws. I at no point argued that anyone on this blog should be censored. Only that a supposed self-proclaimed public intellectual had a responsibility to counter hyperbole, spite, and vitriol in favor of civilized discourse - especially if one of his main points of criticism is that Paul Krugman engages in such uncouth behavior to begin with! Anderson is intellectually dishonest and a hypocrite - which makes his attempt at public discourse really pathetic.


@Daniel - fail! Where in that posting is there any glorification of the scorched earth tactics of Sherman? Economic geography is where Krugman made his bread and butter (and what he won the Noble Prize for).

Any saying that WWII and the Civil War were moral wars also in no way condones the tactics used to wage them. Again, being subtle, you can support the historic thrust of something like war (the defeat of Nazism or slavery) while not supporting the means or the unintended consequences. And no, that is not an ends justify the means argument.

ekeyra said...

Alaska jackass,

Why is it that america was hardly the first or the only country to have to come to terms with slavery, yet it was the only nation that slaughtered half a million of its own citizens to do so?

Also ww2 was an inevitable consequence of crushing reperations placed on germany after the first world war. A war that could have only been financed by the newly created federal reserve. So when bob says these policies have destroyed civilization throughout history there is no hyperbole in his statements.

I have little faith in your ability to process this information analytically so feel free to come up with some names for me and never address any of the actual issues. Oh and keep talking about how professor anderson is pathetic for not taking a stand for civility and deleting your ignorant drivel, while krugman basks in his glorious echo chamber.

Tax Home said...

Professor Anderson, this is one of the most entertaining posts I have seen on your blog. Great job!

But alas it does not solve the problem.

I still feel that you are correct part of the time and Krugman is correct part of the time. This can be seen in the comments. Intellegent sensible people are polorized by their beliefs.

It is exactly like religious beliefs. It is impossible to make progess toward a solution in looking at what you feel is "right". Of course you feel that all of your religious beliefs are correct.

It is the same with economic dogma. I don't use the term "dogma" in a negative way. Just as a matter of fact.

The only way to further economic discussion is to decide what you and the Keynesians have in common and then argue about that.

Of course this will never happen.

So it becomes pure entertainment.

Thank you I love Krugman bashing.

Bob Roddis said...

Tax Home:

Austrian opponents refuse to familiarize themselves with basic Austrian concepts and thus never address them. Austrians know EVERYTHING about the Keynesians and all of the other statist belief systems.

Rothbard explains Von Mises:

http://mises.org/resources.aspx?Id=3081&html=1

William L. Anderson said...

Alaska, I am really surprised that you are demanding that I censor "outrageous" statements. If I did that, I'd have to delete all of your posts, and that would not be fair.

Krugman bases his views upon his version of "aggregate demand," and that version has remained somewhat consistent from Mandeville ("Fable of the Bees") through Malthus and Gesell, through Keynes, and now Krugman and Brad Delong. I believe that this is a wrongheaded view because it assumes that "demand" is something that government can create through monetary manipulation.

Instead, I hold strongly to the Say's Law position (which drives LK nuts), and believe that the problems in the economy right now are due to the fact that government continues to try to prop up the massive malinvestments that got is to this state of affairs in the first place. For example, "Operation Twist" is nothing more than an attempt to pump up the housing market and to prevent the necessary price and output adjustments that must take place in order to have a real recovery.

The Keynesian prescription is for government to shower the economy with money with hopes that people will spend it immediately. Keynesians also believe that as soon as government does this over a long period of time, or if it deluges the economy with new money, that new capital magically will appear and businesses will automatically invest.

This is Pavlovian economics, and it assumes that individuals are pure stimulus-response and that business owners only react to what is happening now. I'm sorry, but I disagree. You may not like it, but that is the way I see it.

alaskaman said...

Ha ha ha! They gave you a professorship for crying out loud! I never - repeat NEVER asked you to censor anyone's comments. But, if you are going to criticize Krugman for engaging in hyperbolic statements about people who disagree with him while also purporting yourself to be a public intellectual you have a responsibility to respond to those comments. Not DELETE them but respond.

Instead your attitude was a lazy "like it or leave it."

And can you really not tell the difference between criticism of one's argument that at times can get heated (e.g. your argument is ridiculous) and someone saying that you are "vile, evil, and leading to the end of civilization?" (from a lawyer no less!).

The rest of your post is a reasoned response that I would gladly engage with as long as you don't think that my belief in aggregate outcomes and government intervention does not fundamentally make me an enemy of freedom or a totalitarian who supports SWAT teams taking your money.

William L. Anderson said...

A highly-respected economist who taught for many years on a ranked college faculty (he was not an "obscure" faculty member at a "podunk" university) wrote the following to me:

Krugman's an intellectual disgrace and, worse, a human disgrace, given his chronic dishonesty. In his eyes, everything reduces to the class war, which reduces to the Republican Party versus the Democratic Party. Even some politicians have a more honest outlook--which is about the most damning thing anyone might say about Krugman.

When Krugman was praising Sherman the other day for his Georgia march, he forgot to add what Sherman believed about the Native Americans and Sherman's strategy for dealing with them. While Krugman was endorsing genocide, he failed to point out that Sherman's tactics did not stop with slaveowners (and people who did not own slaves).

It always is interesting how Progressives will praise genocide when their own people do it. And, then he made fun of people who point out that maybe the census is not all good if the government can use it later to commit acts of barbarity against its own citizens. (Since the North did not recognize the Confederacy as a separate country, it had to then recognize Georgians as Americans.)

So, I guess genocide is OK when it is done by Progressives. Guess it has something to do with "creating aggregate demand."

Bob Roddis said...

Scott Horton interviews the great Will Grigg who discusses why the American Dream is collapsing; the dollar’s rapid decline since leaving the (partial) gold standard in 1971; keeping the fiat currency game going by waging war – the biggest public works/jobs stimulus program imaginable; how the dollar’s reserve currency status, solidified by dollar denominated oil sales, has let the US expand its empire far beyond sustainability; and why economic troubles often prompt people to scapegoat minorities, rather than directing their anger toward the actual causes:

http://antiwar.com/radio/2011/09/28/will-grigg-26/

My "rhetoric" is tame compared to Mr. Grigg's frightening substance.

Where is the substantive argument against our position that Keynesianism promotes war and the looting of the middle class? I'm quite sick of statists whining about the alleged "form" of our arguments without even understanding what the argument is.

Joe said...

I assume you're referring to this post on Krugman's blog:

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/29/mapping-through-georgia/

In this post he notes Sherman's use of cartography in his march on Atlanta. There is no praise for Sherman in this post. He mentioned Sherman's use of cartography as a segue into another discussion of the Civil War in general.

That you would twist this around and frame it as "praising Sherman...for his Georgia march" is intentionally misleading and clearly differs from Krugman's actual words. This is exactly the sort of rhetoric that dents your credibility.

William L. Anderson said...

Notice that Krugman then attacked some people for saying that Sherman's use of the census (for purposes of war crimes -- and, face it, that is what they were) was a reason why people should not trust the census.

When an employee of the U.S. Government uses the census as a means of committing war crimes, it makes sense that some people might blanch at that whole scenario. By attacking others, Krugman shows his support for Sherman. It could not be otherwise, for if Krugman did not support it, why would he have said what he said?

Krugman in other posts has attacked the South, so please don't try to claim Krugman has no opinion of this.

Joe said...

This is where you start to get silly. Krugman was pointing out the paranoia of modern day libertarians using Sherman's march on Georgia (almost 150 years ago) as a supporting argument for not participating in the census today.

From that, you extrapolated that somehow Krugman approved of Sherman's destructive march on Georgia. Do you not see the tenuous connection between the Kruman's actual criticism of people today avoiding the census and your framing of this as Krugman's approval of a destructive military attack on the South? Are you really going to pretend that you didn't make a tremendous, and disingenuous leap of logic by linking these two concepts?

Anonymous said...

"This is where you start to get silly. Krugman was pointing out the paranoia of modern day libertarians using Sherman's march on Georgia (almost 150 years ago) as a supporting argument for not participating in the census today."

Roosevelt used census data to fill his internment camps with Japanese, Germans, and Italians. The State passes its evil tactics from one regime to another.

Joe said...

Way to miss the point of what I was saying.

I'm not talking about the friggin' census, I was using that as an example of how the author of this blog takes Krugman's words and intentionally misrepresents them. I was calling attention to a clear example of intellectual dishonesty by a man who is supposed to be a scholar and professor of economics.

William L. Anderson said...

No, I did not intentionally misrepresent Krugman. Despite the fact that it is proven that the government employed the census in order to commit atrocities against its own citizens, Krugman thinks that criticizing it is silly. Krugman clearly does not think that what Sherman did was bad, as Krugman is the type of writer to say that such things are bad.

If a guy is going to accuse someone of being concerned about inflation as being concerned ONLY because that person wants others to suffer, then he is not going to waste an opportunity to condemn others. Krugman did NOT say, "What Sherman did was bad, but I find it interesting that he used the census." Instead, he clearly implied that the use of the census against the South was a good thing.

Look, if I really believed Krugman was against Sherman's actions, I would not have written what I did. Krugman is quite clear about his preference and his utter hatred for the South. I'm not putting words in the guy's mouth. Krugman supports genocide if he thinks it will promote Progressivism. He is that kind of person, like it or not.

And he is not the only Progressive to endorse atrocities. Look at the many Progressives who endorsed Lenin and Stalin. Read Political Pilgrims by Paul Hollander and you will see what I mean. Krugman comes from a long line of Progressives who believe that people are nothing but putty to be shaped by the State.

ekeyra said...

Some people just wont accept that krugman does a better job of discrediting himself than any of us can.

Joe said...

Let's compare what Krugman actually said about Sherman to what you claim he said:

Paul Krugman:

"And I couldn’t help thinking of another cartography-Civil War story, the way Sherman used data from the 1860 Census to plan his March to the Sea, using county-level data to plot a route that would take him through areas with enough grain and livestock to feed his army. Oh, and sure enough, a Google search immediately turns up right-wing sites using Sherman’s March as a reason to oppose the Census."

William Anderson:

"Krugman was praising Sherman the other day for his Georgia march."


There is clearly no praise for Sherman's march on the South. You have intentionally misrepresented his words and twisted them to say something other than his original intent.

I understand that this is your blog and you can say whatever you want, but the way you conduct yourself on this blog will determine your credibility. If we can't trust you not to misrepresent and misquote Krugman on the topic of Civil War history then how can we trust your statements regarding anything else?

William L. Anderson said...

Joe left out the following quote from the same post:

Part of what has always fascinated me about the Civil War is that like World War II, it was a war in which the basically non-military culture of modern America — which at that point didn’t include the South — used its mastery of the arts of peace and production to overcome more warlike adversaries.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/29/mapping-through-georgia/

Bob Roddis said...

Can we assume that that north's mastery of the arts of peace and production to overcome more warlike adversaries included using bayonets on children's pets as the children looked on?

http://tinyurl.com/3ous49g

Lew Rockwell suggested that it is the very prosperity created by liberal democracy that provides the wherewithal for empire.

http://antiwar.com/radio/2011/08/26/lew-rockwell-15/

How cool is that, Krugman?

Joe said...

Anderson,

I'm waiting to hear your response to my earlier post. The one where I point out where Krugman DOESN'T praise Sherman's march on Georgia, as you claim he does.

Are you actually going to address this? Or just ignore it and wait for the next commenter (i.e. Roddis) to go off on a tangent and let you pretend I never pointed out your rhetorical double-talk.

William L. Anderson said...

Joe, I think the thrust of that post is to praise Sherman, or at least that is one of the themes. Give it up. You can disagree, but you are saying that I am wrong and unless that I admit what you want to hear -- that I am wrong (even though I don't think I am) -- that you are going to continue to throw fits. Give it up.

Joe said...

No, the thrust of his post is to criticism paranoid libertarians, not the praise a man who burned Atlanta to the ground.

I'm not throwing a fit, I'm pointing out your dishonesty and your willingness to bend the truth to score rhretorical points.

If you don't like being called out for lying then stop telling lies.

ekeyra said...

Joe,

"No, the thrust of his post is to criticism paranoid libertarians, not the praise a man who burned Atlanta to the ground."

Yes because it would be absurd to point to a specific and infamous event in which the government used information it gathered through the census to brutally massacre its own citizens. Your right, that is a completely meaningless relation and the government would never do anything bad with the near limitless, and real time data it collects on its citizens now.

If you really believe that I have this 30 million dollar bank account but the nigerian authorities wont let me access it, so can i have your bank account information so i can transfer it and pay you a generous transaction fee?

Joe said...

Way to miss the point entirely.

Yohan said...

What Pete said, first post of these comments.

Krugmans criticisms are usually correct... It is like some kind of psycological projection of his own faults he does not want to face.

macroman said...

t seems that at least 75% of the time when I check to see if Krugman actually said what Anderson said he said, I find he didn't. I don't think Anderson or I have a reading comprehension problem, so my guess is that Anderson thinks he can read Krugman's mind and so changes what Krugman actually says into what he "knows" Krugman really meant. Nowhere in Krugman's piece under discussion did he say the law of scarcity or opportunity cost was a fallacy. In fact Krugman did not mention the fallacies at all, a bad piece of writing by Krugman. The correct response is to ignore it, not claim he said something specific (or at least tell people you are guessing what he meant). I can guess also; I guess Krugman was referring to Say's Law at least as a fallacy; but I can't claim to know this.

macroman said...

Thinking about that census information. The British government used patent information stored in the London patent office to get the details of Germany anti-ship mines and come up with counter measures. Does this mean Government enforced patents are a good thing or a bad thing? I suspect Google maps/google earth could be used for good or evil purposes and would have helped Sherman as well. What should we do about that?