Krugtron the Invincible, Part 1

tags: Paul Krugman, Niall Ferguson



Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

It's an ill wind that blows no one any good. The financial crisis that came to a head five years ago with the failure of Lehman Brothers has been especially beneficial to the economist Paul Krugman. In his widely read New York Times column and blog, Krugman regularly boasts that he has been "right" about the crisis and its consequences. "I (and those of like mind)," he wrote in June last year, "have been right about everything." Those who dare to disagree with him -- myself included -- he denounces as members of the "Always-Wrong Club." Readers of his blog have just been treated to another such sneer.

"Maybe I actually am right," Krugman wrote back in April, "and maybe the other side actually does contain a remarkable number of knaves and fools. ... Look at the results: again and again, people on the opposite side prove to have used bad logic, bad data, the wrong historical analogies, or all of the above. I'm Krugtron the Invincible!" That last allusion is to the 1980s science fiction superhero, Voltron. The resemblance between Krugman and Voltron was suggested by one of the gaggle of bloggers who are to Krugman what Egyptian plovers are to crocodiles. Yesterday one of these thought, wrongly, that he had caught me out. Unwisely, the crocodile snapped its jaws shut....

The question of whether the euro was going to blow up imminently was surely the biggest call of the last few years. Fear of another Lehman-style shock froze credit markets and paralyzed policymakers. Was this just an outside risk over the long term, or a disaster that was almost upon us? Faithful readers of Krugman's New York Times column knew the answer.

By my reckoning, Krugman wrote about the imminent break-up of the euro at least eleven times between April 2010 and July 2012....


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