May 10, 2008

Fact not Fiction: Krugman vs. Galbraith…er…vs. versa….

May 10, 2008

I guess there is not doubt who the editors of The Economist favor, at least from the article’s title, but hey….This is a great exchange and the comments add to it. Clik on the opening para here to read the whole thing because I can assure you that discussions of who should be taxed and why, an important question with any doubt, will soon take a back seat to $8.00/gal. gas and trade balances….Not to mention the Pareto Distribution and ‘Complexity Economics’, a subject you will notice Paul and James tap-dance around pretty effectively:

‘Paul’s worldview rests on the belief that useful implications for important questions of public policy can be derived, essentially from first principles, with the help of a well-structured logic. Well-structured deduction from metaphysical first principles is the Krugman forte.

I don’t accept that much of use can be learned about policy in this way. When the world deviates from the principles, as it usually does, the simple lessons go astray. This is not a complaint against math. It is a complaint against indiscriminate application of the deductive method, sometimes called the Ricardian vice, to problems of human action. Mine is an old gripe against much of what professional economists do; not against science but against scientism, against the pretense of science. To combat it, I spend my research time wrestling with real-world data, and I spend much of my writing time warring against the policy ideas of aggressive, ahistorical deductivists.’

Whuh-oh…that bold by me….looks like James is gonna hand out some whup-ass for Paul. Actually, the whole thing is much more interesting than that.

Read it.