Is Paul Krugman really on the left?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Daal, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. Daal

    Daal

  2. I say this guy is a real "independent" and a free-thinker. Independent and free of the usual biases coming with being "stuck" in one's convictions.
    We need more people like him. It is refreshing , after all those people who would always "stay the course", if you see my point.
     
  3. Daal

    Daal

    "A country like Indonesia is still so poor that progress can be measured in terms of how much the average person gets to eat; since 1970, per capita intake has risen from less than 2,100 to more than 2,800 calories a day.
    A shocking one-third of young children are still malnourished--but in 1975, the fraction was more than half. Similar improvements can be seen throughout the Pacific Rim, and even in places like Bangladesh.

    These improvements have not taken place because well-meaning people in the West have done anything to help--foreign aid, never large, has lately shrunk to virtually nothing.
    Nor is it the result of the benign policies of national governments, which are as callous and corrupt as ever.

    It is the indirect and unintended result of the actions of soulless multinationals and rapacious local entrepreneurs, whose only concern was to take advantage of the profit opportunities offered by cheap labor.

    It is not an edifying spectacle; but no matter how base the motives of those involved, the result has been to move hundreds of millions of people from abject poverty to something still awful but nonetheless significantly better.
    "

    If I didn't knew who wrote this I would be willing to bet my life it was milton friedman, yet it is one more column of krugman
     
  4. The giveaway that it is Krugman (or someone like him) is the automatic assumption that the people operating businesses are "soulless" or "rapacious", that their motives are "base".

    Quite how making money, giving customers what they want, providing employment, and raising the standard of living of people in poor countries is any less virtuous than working as an economist/media pundit is something Krugman does not bother to explain, or even investigate.

    Also, I don't think it's any sign of political affiliation for an economist to say that capitalism raises living standards in general. It is simply a matter of fact, and all economists (being able to observe and understand the facts, due to studying the profession) are aware of this; in the same way that all scientists who study biology and evolution are aware of the fact that creationism is nonsense. It simply is not a matter for debate with anyone who is actually informed about the subject. Of course, joe bloggs generally has no idea because he is ignorant about the field in question. So you get lots of middle america and elsewhere believing in creationism, and just as many if not more not understanding that capitalism and the pursuit of lawful economic self-interest is inherently wealth creating.
     
  5. Great, great post. This line can be framed, "Quite how making money, giving customers what they want, providing employment, and raising the standard of living of people in poor countries is any less virtuous than working as an economist/media pundit is something Krugman does not bother to explain, or even investigate."

     
  6. Tuneman

    Tuneman

    People cannot imagine that perhaps capitalism is the best even for the poor. They believe that they can describe the entire function of economics using their common sense. They can't possibly imagine that simply redistributing wealth, or having a welfare state might actually hurt the people they want to save. They do the equivalent of a someone trying solve difficult engineering problems without any knowledge of physics.
     
  7. Tuneman

    Tuneman

    can't describe*