Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Nation's Premier Broadcast Organization
Takes a Dive Before Niall Ferguson

I often think Brad DeLong goes over the top in his criticism of the press but I hope he wasn't listening to the NPR interview with Niall Ferguson (on All Things Considered) tonight or they would have had to call for the paramedics (update: here's a transcript).

Faithful readers will recognize Ferguson as an entertaining teller of tales who has somehow developed the idea that he is a Man of Vision.   That's to be expected, I guess; once you bear the weight of two named Harvard professorships, it would be surprising if you retained any sanity at all.  So it is hardly surprising that we heard stuff like this:

  • He beat up on Paul Krugman for endorsing Depression-era deficit spending, without seeming to grasp that Krugman's complaint is that we spent too little in the Depression: caught between Roosevelt's diffidence and the counter-cyclic pressure from the states (sound familiar?) we were left with the need of a great war to bail us out.
  • He sniped about "Keynsianism" but than morphed into an attack on quantitative easing as if he can't tell the difference between fiscal policy and monetary --i.e., precisely the distinction that lies at the heart of the conflict between Keynes and his free-market critics.
  • He seems to be under the impression that the Depression was an era of isolated national, as distinct from global, markets.  Dear God, has this man never heard of the Gold Standard?
As I say, Ferguson can pontificate all he wants and nothing I can say will slow him down. But what was the reporter doing while all this was going on?  Twittering his publicist?  I should think that one of DeLong's Political Econ majors ought to be able to pick up on and challenge (seeming) absurdities like this. Why,oh why, as one might say, can't we have a better radio show?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

just donated $50 to local public radio station for fundraiser (i get a pound of imported coffee from local coffee shop as reward) when i turned on the computer and read this. should i ask for my money back?

Buce said...

Well, I still donate, though I find I listen less and less.

Matthew Russo said...

All Things Ill-Considered, wadda you expect?

As for Ferguson, a very clever charlatan, an man for our times neatly mirroring the state of decay of the capitalist class.

Anonymous said...

DeLong is far too nice to the press, who deserve a lot of contempt for their out-of-touch elitist neoliberal reporting.

Anonymous said...

It's still one of the less annoying media stations (even if they also have a right-leaning bias)

anand said...

Why is this being on NPR a surprise? I have been listening to them for more than 15 years and when it comes to the economy and politics they reliably depend on the 'balanced' reporting applesauce. I stopped giving money to them ages ago. They really dont care much for your money these days, most of their funding now comes from Koch and Co.

DBMS_Plumber said...

Shouldn't that be "pro-cyclic pressure" from the states?

Was that Ferguson's mangling? Transcription error?

Buce said...

"Shouldn't that be "pro-cyclic pressure"

Very likely "pro-cyclic" was my artless and innocent way of saying that they were running contra the feds. In any event the error, if it is an error, is mine.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. You believe that the international gold standard was functional during the depression?

As one might say, Dear God . . .