Paul Krugman's Steaming Pile Of Irony
Paul Krugman, professional economic gloomsayer and New York Times columnist has something truly flabbergasting to say about the role of the clueless prognosticator in modern society. (HT: Marginal Revolution)
The age of the anti-Cassandra
Reading some of today’s news, it suddenly struck me: we’re living in the age of the anti-Cassandra.
Cassandra had the gift of prophecy — she saw, correctly, what was coming — but was under a curse: nobody would believe her.
Today, our public discourse is dominated by people who have been wrong about everything — but are still, mysteriously, treated as men of wisdom, whose judgments should be believed. Those who were actually right about the major issues of the day can’t get a word in edgewise.
Krugman, of course, by virtue of his Times pulpit, is able to get plenty of words in edgewise, which (in an irony certain to be lost on the author) validates his own thesis.
Case in point, Krugman has predicted economic recession in each of the last six years.
That's 24 consecutive fiscal quarters (we're actually up to 25 now, and 26 if we keep our heads above water for the next 6 days) without a single reading of negative growth, despite Krugman's perennial prophecies of wreck and ruin around every corner.
Getting back to the central point of the professor's article though, what's most astounding about Krugman's body of work is that it illustrates - perhaps better than any other's - that a career in economic pontification can not only survive, but thrive in the modern media spotlight, despite (or perhaps thanks to) consistent and egregious errors, so long as that systematic variance tends in a media-friendly direction.
It's not a new phenomenon that credit for accurate predictions greatly outweighs discredit for inaccurate ones (people continue to pick through Nostradamus' zillions of predictions so they can breathlessly present a few that vaguely resemble modern events). But it's genuinely astounding that the media's undisputed heavyweight champion of the asymmetry of prediction consequences should recognize this phenomenon without the faintest hint of self-awareness.
Update: QandO (linked above) has compiled an updated catalog of Krugman's wackiest econo-boogedy-speak lo these 6+ prosperous years, as well as assorted rebukes to this latest fantastic bout of self-inflicted irony.
Handcrafted by Flip on March 25, 2008 |
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