The Humble Economist

Greg Mankiw writes:

Now, if you follow economic commentary in the newspapers or the blogosphere, you have probably not run into many humble economists. By its nature, punditry craves attention, which is easier to attract with certainties than with equivocation.

But that certitude reflects bravado more often than true knowledge.

About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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4 Responses to The Humble Economist

  1. Lance says:

    Saw Krugman this morning on Candy Crowly’s State of the Union. He was angry that Republicans were using the threat of not raising the debt ceiling to leverage legislative initiatives that he of course doesn’t like.

    He was basically having a little fit of hissy imploring Democrats to play chicken with the Republicans, even to the point of economic Armageddon, rather than compromising on the programs and policies that he holds so dear.

    Humility is not in his repertoire.

  2. I have a lot of misgivings about columns/punditry as a genre. So many of them seem to be of the “when they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into…” variety.

    I still read them, though, and usually get angry at them.

  3. James Hanley says:


    So Krugman was essentially behaving just like the Republicans? I’d have no problem with that if he was up-front about taking a stance that is more political than intellectual. After all, brinkmanship is a fine, if dangerous, art, and as a political scientist I enjoy watching someone successfully pull it off. But, alas, I don’t think he’s that self-aware. And as I’ve frequently noticed, he’s rather an ignoramus about politics qua politics.

    I should note that Mankiw did not mention, nor even hint at, any names, including Krugman’s.

  4. Lance says:


    Krugman has become much more open in his endorsement of the Democratic Party since Obama was elected, not that it was hard to tell before.

    I don’t think the Republicans, at least most of them, are any more “self-aware” than the Democrats or Krugman. In fact I would bet that a study that measured IQ’s would be quite embarrassing to the Republicans except that many of them would proudly embrace their relative dim-wittedness as proof that Democrats are “elitist”.

    I almost hope both parties play chicken and don’t raise the debt ceiling. I don’t own any stocks, I have little equity in my home, since the recent market downturn, and I don’t work for a private company.

    Also I doubt the sky would fall as Krugman and others on the left have claimed.

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