April 25, 2017

The Krugman curse

Comment on David Glasner on ‘A Tale of Three Posts’


Humans are gregarious animals and therefore take reassurance from being part of the larger crowd and from a casual friendly pat of their leader. Accordingly, David Glasner is overjoyed to report that: “A number of my posts have achieved a fair amount of popularity, … Many, though not all, of my most widely viewed posts were mentioned by Paul Krugman in his blog. Whenever I noticed an unusually large uptick in the number of viewers visiting the blog, I usually found Krugman had linked to my post, causing a surge of viewers to my blog.”

This is a fine success according to the criteria of media-, public relations-, attention-, and reputation management. At second sight it is a comical attempt of two failed economists to mutually beef up their reputation.

David Glasner readily admits all the inconsistencies of standard economics but he is content with supply-demand-equilibrium as an explanation of how the market system works and does not feel any urge for a paradigm shift: “… most economists neither seek alternative theories nor believe that they can be found.” (Hausman) This is self-disqualifying.

Krugman, too, is unwavering committed to the orthodox paradigm: “… most of what I and many others do is sorta-kinda neoclassical because it takes the maximization-and-equilibrium world as a starting point.” This, too, is self-disqualifying.

Krugman has not realized that both the neoclassical axioms and the Keynesian I=S are false on all methodological counts but applies an inconsistent synthesis of these two inconsistent approaches in order to explain current economic events.#1, #2 But, of course, Krugman is a well-respected loudspeaker of the profession.

What David Glasner has not realized is that economics is what Feynman called a cargo cult science#3 and in this topsy-turvy world holds Shakespeare’s ‘fair is foul, and foul is fair’. This means (i) that any Top-Ten chart tells one what NOT to touch under any circumstances, and (ii), that the approval of Paul Krugman amounts to a confirmation of utter scientific failure.

So, a link from Paul Krugman, Mark Thoma, Brad DeLong and other ‘hearts and souls of the econ blogoshpere’ is not a reason to feel elated and indebted but a curse that follows one beyond the grave. The curse says: We, the mutually interlinked leaders and followers of cargo cult economics will never be accepted in the community of scientists.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 See 'Mr. Keynes, Prof. Krugman, IS-LM, and the End of Economics as We Know It'
#2 See ‘The father of modern economics and his imbecile kids
#3 See Wikipedia

Related 'Paul the Menace' and 'Scientific suicide in the revolving door'