Businessweek Archives

Krugman: Economic and Technological Conservative


? The Democrats and the Coming Housing Bust |

Main

| Tyler Cowen on Government Spending ?

February 13, 2006

Krugman: Economic and Technological Conservative

Michael Mandel

In an economic and technological sense, Paul Krugman is a conservative (small 'c'). He likes traditional measures of the economy. And he appears not to like my latest cover story on flaws in the statistics. In today's column, Krugman writes:

Some people insist that the U.S. economy has hidden savings that official statistics fail to capture. I won't go into the technical debate about these claims, some of which resemble arguments used not long ago to justify dot-com stock prices, except to say that the more closely one looks at the facts, the less plausible the "don't worry, be happy" hypothesis looks.

I've been down this road with Paul before. In the mid-1990s, he nastily attacked both myself and BusinessWeek for suggesting that productivity growth had accelerated. In December, 1997, for example, he dismissed the idea that new technology could push the sustainable growth rate up to 3.5% or more:

The conventional view that the economy has a "speed limit" of around 2-percent to 2.5-percent does not come out of thin air...I can't bring myself to endorse a doctrine that I know to be just plain dumb."

And then in June 1998 Krugman wrote that:

The truth is that we live in an age not of extraordinary progress but of technological disappointment. And that's why the future is not what it used to be.

Oh, yes, one more thing. Krugman was wrong about the New Economy in the 1990s, and he's going to be wrong about the New Economy now.

11:17 AM

Growth

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/

Krugman cannot be taken seriously. He is even further to the left than Brad Delong, and since leftism has become synonymous with pessimism in recent years, he cannot step out of his comfort zone of pessimism. He almost wants the US economy to be in trouble...

All this, and people like him still claim to be 'liberal'. How can someone be 'liberal' (in the dictionary definition of the word) and be so opposed to your groundbreaking new thought leadership on new-economy economic measures.

I have a post on my blog citing your cover page article here :

http://futurist.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/02/the_economy_is_.html

Posted by: Kartik at February 13, 2006 01:01 PM

How does Mandel, or Krugman know - or for that matter does anyone know at what rate knowledge will grow in the future? The problem with dark matter is that it's dark - no one really knows how to measure it. Don't fight over it before we can start measuring it.

Posted by: eCon-Man at February 13, 2006 06:24 PM

Yes, Mr. Krugman. The man who, a few years ago, was trumpeting the "liquidity trap" and warning that we could not lower interest rates enough to stimulate the U.S. economy. Ten+ years of economic stagnation was inevitable, a la Japan.

I would agree with Kartik Liberalism and pessimism are two sides of the same coin. When the U.S. economy did inevitably rebound, and hay was no longer to be made there, Mr. K morphed into a political columnist, bashing Pres. Bush and the Iraq war.

It seems that Paul Krugman would like to be to the U.S. economy what Art Bell was to Y2K. Though I still enjoy listening to Art once in a while, I have long since quit reading Mr. Krugman.

Posted by: MN at February 13, 2006 10:41 PM

I'm sure Mandel is too small-fry for Krugman to respond to, but I will.

Krugman's arguments are dead-on. We had a terrible gdp growth number last month. Debt is at record levels, MEW too. This administration is about nothing but further enriching the superwealthy. They do no good whatsoever for anyone else.

Sure you can point in all of Krugman's writings to mistakes he makes. He put opinions out there every week for morons like Mandel to try to shoot down. But if he's wrong 5% of the time, he's right 95% of the time.

Mandel's just an administration hack.

Posted by: RN at February 16, 2006 08:26 AM

RE ; ARTICLE PRINTED IN PALM BEACH POST , SATURDAY , JULY 22...MEMORY LANE A RUBBLE=STREWN ROAD. wATCHING SUNDAY MORNING TALK SHOWS I HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT WHAT WONDERFUL ENTERTAINMENT IT WOULD BE TO REPLAY THE STATEMENTS MADE BY SOME OF THE GUESTS OVER THE YEARS....THIS COLUMN SHOULD BE THE OPENING EPISODE.

Posted by: DAVOD STEIN at July 22, 2006 06:41 PM


Burger King's Young Buns
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW

(enter your email)
(enter up to 5 email addresses, separated by commas)

Max 250 characters

 
blog comments powered by Disqus