Let me preface this by saying I like Steve Horwitz a lot. I think he's one of the best Austrian economists around, and he's always a great read. I am always stunned at how he applies Bastiatian logic, though - and I've had a correspondence with him over this one point in the past. "Agree to disagree", I suppose, for the most part - but he posted something especially disappointing along these lines today that's worth sharing and getting reactions on.
It all starts with two really great posts from Krugman essentially saying:
1. "war is not moral, and when I say it had X, Y, and Z effect on the economy I want to make clear I am not saying that makes it moral", and
2. "war destroys wealth and destroying wealth hurts the economy".
Two very clear points. Today, Steve Horwitz writes a post that links to the first post of Krugman's I mention and essentially says "Krugman thinks war is morally acceptable because he thinks it did X, Y, and Z to the economy"
I have no idea what Steve was thinking when he wrote this. Disagree with his macroeconomics - fine. Take issue with the aggregates - fine. Reason through all that and talk all that out. But how could you possibly ascribe that ethical perspective to Paul Krugman while linking to a post where he says exactly the opposite, and failing to cite a post where he makes Bastiat's point?
This Krugmania (which I mentioned a couple days ago too) is nothing short of bizarre and it's substantially lowering the quality and productivity of the discourse in the economics blogosphere. It's not good. I leave a comment with some pointed questions for Steve on Coordination Problem where he shares the post.
UPDATE: To throw a monkey wrench into the collection of about half a dozen monkey wrenches that Steve has already thrown into this relatively straightforward point, I also want to note that it was probably a good thing we entered WWII, wasn't it? This is just one war and there are lots of unjust wars - and even with this one war we would obviously all be wealthier if fascism didn't threaten three continents to begin with - but given that fascism did threatent three continents... well... there are some things worth killing and dying for, aren't there? I think so. Anyway - this is a little besides the point. Krugman's point is that regardless of the moral content of the war, the war had certain economic impacts that we can talk about scientifiically. That doesn't "make war moral" - but I also want to stress that it doesn't make entering WWII a bad idea. Unless my readers are all with Pat Buchanan on this, I thought this point should be clarified. So for the record, Daniel Kuehn firmly believes that fighting fascists who aggressively conquer multiple democratic republics is a good thing.
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