Paul Krugman, Tom Sargent and Me

Paul Krugman seems to be implying that I am the double-secret ring-leader of a vast right-wing conspiracy.


Today in his blog at the New York Times, Krugman said:

…why the sudden attention to Sargent’s 2007 speech?

I think it’s fairly obvious: it’s essentially stealth anti-Keynesian propaganda, cloaked in the form of a widely respected and liked economist uttering what sound like eternal truths.

But they aren’t, and the real goal here is to undermine the case for fighting unemployment in the here and now. There are virtues to that 2007 talk, but right now is no time for 2007 Sargent.

In my reply at his blog, I said that I originally posted the link to Sargent’s speech to make a point that most economic analysis is free of politics because the average economist is a moderate Democrat. Tom Sargent is a life-long Democrat.

To add to my reply at Krugman’s blog, Krugman said earlier in his blog that:

It’s not so much that what Sargent said is wrong, although some of his principles are by no means universally agreed upon, even in normal times.

What’s so striking about Sargent’s points is that it’s hard to think of a worse time to cite them.

And the people citing that old speech clearly have ulterior motives.

I live in New Zealand. Not everything is about U.S. domestic politics.

I rather prophetical said on Marginal Revolution on the 20th that “Too many on social media such as Reddit responded by smearing Sargent as a right-winger and neo-liberal. He is a life-long Democrat.”

My conspiratorial minions span the globe to include initially Newmark’s Door and then Marginal Revolution,  Stephen, the American Enterprise Institute, Catallaxyfiles and the Business Insider to name but a few. There are other unindicted co-conspirators.

Karl Popper argued that conspiracy theories overlook the pervasive unintended consequences of political and social action; conspiracy theorists assume that all consequences must have been intended by someone.

Krugman agrees that Sargent’s 12-points are not that controversial in themselves. Krugman then plays the man rather than the ball:

“How to discredit an unwelcome report:

… Stage Four: Discredit the person who produced the report. Explain (off the record) that
1. He is harbouring a grudge against the Department.
2. He is a publicity seeker.
3. He is trying to get a Knighthood/Chair/Vice Chancellorship.
4. He used to be a consultant to a multinational.
5. He wants to be a consultant to a multinational.

Sir Humphrey, The Greasy Pole


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