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The PJ Tatler

by
Scott Ott

Bio

August 1, 2014 - 2:07 pm

The science is settled in yet another field — economics — but no one’s listening. Citizens of the galaxy, be afraid.

New York Times pundit and economist Paul Krugman says the “overwhelming” consensus among his colleagues proclaims the Obama stimulus reduced unemployment and was “worth it.” But most Americans have no idea that these academics speak with virtually one voice on Obamanomics.

More important, over the past several years policy makers across the Western world have pretty much ignored the professional consensus on government spending and everything else, placing their faith instead in doctrines most economists firmly reject.

One rejected doctrine, “government austerity measures,” is pure foolishness during down cycles according to Krugman’s cabalmates. After all, nearly every economist knows that the only sure way to keep recession from plunging into depression is massive new government spending of money borrowed from our grandchildren.

Krugman wrings his soft science hands over the consequences of ignoring the voice from the ivory tower.

All of which raises a troubling question: Are we as societies even capable of taking good policy advice?

The op-ed column is headlined: “Knowledge Isn’t Power.” Like most progressives, Krugman believes that all it takes to do the right thing is to know the right thing, and so he’s crestfallen at the realization that the treasury of economics knowledge remains untapped by policy makers.

This must be tremendously frustrating, because Krugman started his career with the ambition to be a kind of guardian of the galaxy.

 “I went into economics,” he wrote in an e-mail message, “because I read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, in which social scientists save galactic civilization, and that’s what I wanted to be.”

For those stories, Asimov invented a fictional science called psychohistory – a mix of social science, history and math, whose practitioners, in Krugman’s words, “understand the true dynamics” and thus “save the galaxy.”

In fairness to Krugman, he has, at least, entered a parallel field of fictional science. Among the most common news headlines related to the economy are those proclaiming how far astray economist predictions were from actual performance.

Scott Ott co-hosts a news, commentary and humor show called Trifecta on PJTV. He created and hosted the 20-part series on the Constitution titled Freedom's Charter. His satire site, ScrappleFace, spawned three books and praise from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and many others.

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Top Rated Comments   
Note to Editor: Every time you say "Paul Krugman" it needs to be prefaced by "former Enron Advisor".

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Krugman's version of economics IS science fiction... He knows NOTHING about economics. I can say that...My degree was in economics. Krugman is a silly, self-important man whose true goal is to push the "progressive globalist" agenda.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I also read the Foundation books when I was 16. I, too, was much impressed.

They tell us that a whole bunch of really smart guys can predict the Future for a Thousand years hence, and bring a paradise wherein (get this) the really smart guys will Totally Rule!!!

Since then I've grown up and gotten an education.

Did you know that the first half of the second book ("Foundation and Empire"), a retelling of the story of the Byzantine General Belisarius, was originally published (in 1940) under the title "The Thousand Year Plan", which of course, the whole Foundation project was, explicitly. (I've seen the edition in a classic old used-book store, but didn't buy it; I probably should have, just to provide proof.)

Stalin, Hitler and Krugman. But then, in German, "Krug" means "crock".
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (77)
All Comments   (77)
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"...massive new government spending of money borrowed from our grandchildren."

Borrowed in much the same way as my neighbor borrows tools: if you get it back at all, it's in such a condition as to be worthless.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Paul Krugman says the “overwhelming” consensus among his colleagues proclaims the Obama stimulus reduced unemployment and was “worth it.”

So Krugman has taken to huffing glue on the job. That would explain a lot.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Krugman had read a little more carefully, he would have realized that "The Mule" was elected in 2008 and all planning is torn asunder.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I read the Trilogy. It gave me the creeps. I was 12 and my mom was a control freak. To think that the world could be influenced by the opinions of someone who took that piece of cheap entertainment seriously ... is scary and it gives me the creeps all over again. I liked the Cordwainer Smith series much better, especially The Boy Who Bought The Earth. Someone should make that into a horror movie for Progressives.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember who else based his life's work on the Foundation Trilogy? Osama Bin Laden. He read it as a teenager and believed, just as Krugman, that the future could be guided by enlightened individuals. Thus, the name Al Qaeda (The Foundation).
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember reading that Bin Laden's favorite TV show growing up was Bonanza. I wonder if that explains anything useful or relevant about him?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I asked 100 Keynesians about the problem and every one of them recommended a Keynesian solution! The consensus has spoken!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The question is: does Krugman believe that we actually have a handle on "psychohistory"? That we actually know enough about the world economy to make valid fine-scale predictions?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Psychohistory wasn't supposed to predict fine scale behavior, it was supposed to predict what 68% of people would do. The chief weakness of psychohistory was that if the field actually existed, then people would change their individual behavior based on the predictions of psychohistory, thus causing a large scale effect that would invalidate any prediction. A successful psychohistory would be believed, and thus would fail.

To the degree that economics makes psychohistory-like predictions it fails for the same reason. It's the "reaction" that Don Meaker speaks of below.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem that Krugman has yet to face is "to every action there is an opposite reaction". When government inflates the money supply, people realize it, and demand more of it, and the frauds who inflate currency have blamed their bad policy on the people who refuse to let the fraud stand since Dioclitan. When government borrows money that can never be paid back, lenders demand higher interest rates, and the frauds who borrow have complained about usury since Joseph served Pharaoh. When governments regulate survival out of social life, enlightened humans will make sure that such a bad government does not survive, and despots have complained about rebellion since Nimrod.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
'Krugman started his career with the ambition to be a kind of guardian of the galaxy. “I went into economics because I read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, in which social scientists save galactic civilization, and that’s what I wanted to be.” '

Actually, it's far worse than that. He wanted to be SELDON, the architect of the entire vision.

From a comment to a Krugman piece at the Guardian http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/19955962

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Krugman wrote,

"Asimov's Galactic Empire sounds an awful lot like the Roman Empire."

Good grief. Is he really unaware that Asimov had been reading Gibbon and consciously modeled his stories after Rome and its empire?

I'm not surprised Krugman wanted to be Seldon. Seldon is Asimov's sf/math version of Christ. And of course, Seldon's videorecorded predictions on the future progress of the Plan became irrelevant when the Mule came along (and the Second Foundation had to fix things). Krugman's utter lack of self-awareness at how appropriate that is is absolutely delicious.

The Mule is a version of Attila the Hun, and Second Foundation's encounter with him is a parallel to the romanticized version of Pope Leo I (and other envoys) meeting Attila.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
So whoever wants to follow a delusional SF reader stuck in age 14 go ahead and do it ... oh ... we already did that? twice?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
One hates to be blunt but Mr. Krugman owns a cat. QED.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
My dislike & disgust for him just became deeper. Did not think that was possible.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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