Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This is why we think Krugman is the modern Bastiat

Bryan Caplan says that Yglesias channels Bastiat, and lists three things in particular that Yglesias does:

"What does it mean to "channel Bastiat"?  There are three key components:

1. Ridiculing simplistic economic misconceptions.

2. Lamenting the popularity of these misconceptions.

3. Blaming bad economic policies on the popularity of these misconceptions

Yep. Exactly. That's more or less what was going through our heads when we said that about Krugman. The reason why so many people got bent out of shape over it was because they were the ones promoting the economic misconceptions that Krugman was ridiculing.

I'm sure the protectionists of 19th century France didn't think Bastiat was all that hot too.

To their credit, most of Krugman's critics aren't protectionists. That doesn't mean they aren't behind some dangerous economic misconceptions that Krugman is trying to combat.


  1. I'm not so sure of that Daniel. The Keen/Krugman debate is just one of many examples of how Krugman falls into the same trap as the people he tries to critique. He too gets bent out of shape when he gets called out because of his simplistic assumptions.

  2. So when has Krugman made "failure to run the printing press overtime and spend money on any stimulus project that hits your desk no matter what, so long as money gets spent" seem as stupid as petitioning for blocking out sunlight? Are you sure you don't simply see his arguments therefor as super-wise, simply because you already consider it obvious that we need to get that money flowing, anywhere, anyhow?

    Protectionists may not have have liked Bastiat, but they at least understood they needed something more than "restricting creates saves our jobs", since he pointed out the same thing would justify blocking out the sunlight, and this allowed them to refine their argument to more specific benefits they believed would flow from protectionism. Krugman accomplished something similar ... where?

    And where did Bastiate promote confusion between GDP, (exchanged) output, and welfare, e.g. in discussing natural disasters?

    I think the fierce reaction you got was for you being fiercely wrong.


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