Monday, April 09, 2012

Gentlemen, Puh-leez! Steve Randy Waldman Orders Everybody Out of the Pool

I hope Steve Randy Waldman gets at least a few minutes knocked off his time in purgatory for this bracing dose of cold reason which he administers to the great Keen/Krugman debate.  Although I'd have to say I don't agree that "the stakes are so small:"  the issue is real and important, and God knows macro needs all the help it can get, if it is to be saved from hurtling into the dustbin alongside astrology.  And full disclosure: as a somewhat popeyed nonprofessional onlooker, I'd say that so far Keen is ahead on points.  

But Steve's main point is elsewhere and on this I'd give him a grand thumbs-up.  There's just a whole lot of hurt feelings and (dare one say it?) not a little self-pity on both sides of the arena here, surely inimical to civil discourse and probably not a whole hell of a lot of help in sorting out the underlying issue.  There are also, no doubt, a whole raft of people just lined up at the popcorn stand,  hoping to enjoy  a takedown of the master of all takedowns, the great panjandrum from the op-ed page at the New York Times--a raft of people who, ironically, really don't have any enthusiasm for the Keen side of the case, but are happy to see Krugman take a spear from any quarter.

I suppose I can understand why a semi-quasi-crypto-Austrian might sulk over the intuition that he Don't Get No Respect--and to enjoy a bit of schadenfreud as he observes the spectacle of establishment disarray.  It's perhaps easy to forget that Krugman, too, feels like he spent way too much time in the wilderness, under the sting of the dismissive pieties of his self-admiring freshwater neighbors.

Lost sight in this farrago (it can happen) may be the point that these guys are actually making a tiny bit of headway giving macro itself the bitch-slap it so richly deserves.  So good work, fellahs.  I just hope you can see past your bruises and through your puffed eyes to enjoy the success you may be having in pushing back the frontiers of ignorance.

1 comment:

bjdubs said...

Fracas or farrago?