Some insights from a Nobel Laureate

Just a quick one to highlight this piece by Paul Krugman, this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics. The piece is mostly centred around how he comes up with ideas for economics research, but I think much of it could equally be applied to political science. This in particular sounds like good advice for our politicians:

    Listen to the Gentiles

    What I mean by this rule is “Pay attention to what intelligent people are saying, even if they do not have your customs or speak your analytical language.”

He also keeps a very good blog for the NYT. He’s been a good bit ahead of the curve on the credit crisis, and anticipated the need for Brown’s plan — recommended.

  • 6countyprod

    The economic analysis Krugman serves up in his New York Times columns is often an embarrassment.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    As compared to the intellectual giant Donald Luskin who doesn’t even understand the basic principle of statistical sampling.
    Donald Luskin’s claim in National Review that in order to get a picture of income distribution and mobility in America:
    [i]“you’d have to track hundreds of millions of individuals…. [N]one of this is reliable… the Panel Study of Income Dynamics… tracks only 8,000 families out of a U.S. population of 295 million individuals…”[/i]

    Law of large numbers anyone?

  • Kensei


    We’ll ignore the Nobel for some fairly apolitical work. He has a column twice a week in the NYT and has been a fairly prolific blogger over the past few months at least. No one that prolific is going to be right all the time. But he makes some interesting arguments and will occasionally delve into the economics behind it. Which is good output. There are, as you point out, plenty of other vies about and you can make your own mind up. Well you could, if you hadn’t already decided before you read anything.

    I also suspect you didn’t actually read the piece linked, did you?


    Aside from that: surely the government does track the incomes of hundreds of millions through their tax returns anyway?

  • The same Krugman who said this,

    “Mr. Brown and Alistair Darling, the chancellor of the Exchequer (equivalent to our Treasury secretary), have defined the character of the worldwide rescue effort, with other wealthy nations playing catch-up … This combination of clarity and decisiveness hasn’t been matched by any other Western government, least of all our own.”

  • Kensei


    That’d be the one. I am unsure if you are presenting this as an incredulous statement or not. Despite the role of Labour in getting the UK into the mess, it’s not a statement without merits.

    If you follow his blog, you can see he was arguing for something similar for some time (in common with a lot of other economic blogs).

  • heck

    krugman’s analysis of why england has such bad foor

  • heck

    sorry for typo

    that should say food

  • OC

    Why did God invent Gentiles?

    Someone has to buy @ retail.

  • Greenflag

    kensei ,

    Thanks for the link and the article . I read Krugman’s ‘Conscience of a Liberal’ about a month ago and it struck me then as one of the best expositions on american economic history over the past century and in particular in regard to what has ‘happened ‘ since the American ‘dream ‘started slipping away circa the mid seventies .

    It’s not only an analysis but the numbers are there detailing how many ‘billions ‘ are wasted with the present fragmented health care system that consumes an ever increasing amount of GDP almost 20% and at the same time delivers Americans a shorter life expectancy than other developed countries and condemns many to bankruptcy and keeps millions in fear of having to have a serious operation !

    I hope Obama finds room in his new administration for Krugman .

    There’s another solution to America’s impasse other than the neo conservative failed policies building ever more prisons , engaging in ever more wars and doing it all on borrowed money while making the country ever more dependent on foreign creditors .

    Well worth a read if you are interested in how the USA economy came to be where it is today and why .

    Paul Krugman

    ‘Conscience of a Liberal ‘

  • Greenflag


    ‘but I think much of it could equally be applied to political science. This in particular sounds like good advice for our politicians:

    ‘Listen to the Gentiles’

    ‘What I mean by this rule is “Pay attention to what intelligent people are saying, even if they do not have your customs or speak your analytical language.’

    You mean listen to themuns;) ?

    Themuns not Gentiles themuns papists /proddies delete as appropriate 😉

    When the world is flat you don’t take seriously people who maintain it’s round . And you can’t persuade them it’s not flat until they fall off 🙂

  • Kensei


    You mean listen to themuns;) ?

    I mean listen to smart themmums. C’mon, there must be at least one 😉

  • Greenflag


    ‘C’mon, there must be at least one 😉

    There ye go being an optimist again 😉

    The only way NI politicians will ever be successful is if they give up . Democratic governance may just not be for everybody 😉

    One should have the courage of one’s pessimism and remember that in this economy behind every silver lining there’s a dark cloud and in Northern Ireland politics after every hopeful dawn comes a dismal dusk and so it goes or goes not ?
    Still must’nt grumble eh -could be worse – a lot worse .

    It could be Somalia 🙁 Now there’s a country without any government at all at all and according to messrs Dave & Harry fFlash and others it should ergo be a hive of economic efficiency and prosperity and at the very least at the top of the African economic league table . Alas its anything but 🙁 Another theory murdered by a brutal gang of facts or in Somalia by several competing war lords vying for competitive advantage in a regulation less environment.