Authors@Google: Paul Krugman

Part of an interesting series at Google: Paul Krugman.

If you don’t know who he is, Krugman writes a twice-weekly column for the op-ed page of the New York Times.
He is a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton
University, and the author or editor of 20 books and more than 200 professional
journal articles.

In recognition of his work, Krugman was named Columnist of the Year by Editor and Publisher
magazine, and he received the John Bates
Clark Medal from the American Economic Association, an award given every two
years to the top economist under the age of 40. The Economist said he is "the
most celebrated economist of his generation."

Note: This Authors@Google event took place December 14, 2007 at Google Headquarters in
Mountain View, CA

Hat tip: Calculated Risk

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Bynoceros commented on Dec 19

    As a heads up to readers, Krugman is now in his 50’s (although he looks good enough that you could mistake him for 40), and it’s been a long time since he won the Clark medal.

    Clearly a brilliant guy, and one of the few op/ed columnist I’ve read consistently for a decade, but one trifle: I wish he had spent more time expounding on his early work concerning foreign exchange and interest rates.

    The guy could have won a nobel prize if he had kept pushing in that direction. Maybe it wasn’t his goal, but I’m not a fan of seeing the exceptionally gifted use their talents on *lesser* pursuits.

  2. Greg Thorpe commented on Dec 19

    It seems one mans celebrated economists is another mans calculating political hack.

  3. Rudy commented on Dec 19

    I always have time for a former Enron advisor.

  4. Karl K commented on Dec 19

    He’s moved from being one the great economists of his generation to a hollowed-out polemicist.

    I am sure he became the op-ed columnist largely because he felt he would have more “influence” but he has, ironically enough, marginalized himself. I am sure it galls him that Greg Mankiw, at the end of the day, will have more influence that he could ever hope to have now.

    Krugman is the poster child for Bush Derangement Syndrome.

  5. Northern Observer commented on Dec 19

    Yeah Yeah Rudy and did you know Senator Byrd was once part of the Klan????
    At least the Krug gave enron advice on how to run their company ligitimately, care to explain what the following “advisors” did with their six figure fees?
    Senator Gramm and Texas Reps. Dick Armey, the House majority leader, and Tom DeLay

    Gotta given em credit, when republicans do payolla they go big.

  6. Northern Observer commented on Dec 19

    Greg Mankiw, at the end of the day, will have more influence that he could ever hope to have now.
    Krugman is the poster child for Bush Derangement Syndrome.
    Posted by: Karl K | Dec 19, 2007 5:12:59 PM

    That some bitter bile you got going Karl. Why don’t you mind your own reputation and the Krug will mind his.
    Maki is tainted from the crap he did for Bush and everyone knows it.

  7. Barry Ritholtz commented on Dec 19

    This is why I hate doing political stuff: People lose their minds . . .

  8. wunsacon commented on Dec 19

    But, Barry, you do it anyway because:
    (a) geopolitics is part of the “big picture”,
    (b) you care about it, and
    (c) we should not let our annoyance/apprehension over expected (and/or realized) outbursts from emotionally-charged-but-informationally-challenged thinkers silence debate on important issues.

    Please keep it up.

  9. wunsacon commented on Dec 19

    >> emotionally-charged-but-informationally-challenged

    And, yes, this describes me, sometimes. Hopefully, less with age.

  10. Max commented on Dec 19

    I listened to the whole thing. Bush Derangement Syndrome was there from the first lame introductory Cheney jab to the Bush countdown clock at the end.

  11. Whammer commented on Dec 19

    Wunsacon, you’re more level-headed than most.

    I find it kind of interesting now that the few remaining Bush defenders now rely on Bush Derangement Syndrome as their “out” in dismissing criticism of Bush.

    Frankly, I’d like to hear what, exactly, we should *not* be deranged about with respect to this administration.

  12. Bynoceros commented on Dec 19

    I second that Whammer.

    Krugman’s detractors are mad because he is obsessed with reality. Of course, the fact that supply side economics exists only in the heads of right wing ideologues should tell you how much those ideologues know about the economy, or anything else for that matter.

  13. eightnine2718281828mu5 commented on Dec 19

    This crowd’s interest lies in another direction.

    Too bad you didn’t feature Art Laffer, whose only notable work consists of a single graph with only 2 numbers on the x axis: 0% and 100%.

    Now that’s rigor!

  14. Niki Lauda commented on Dec 19

    Your spam filters suck. Talk about the economics of re-typing and avoiding certain phrases!
    Let’s see if this gets through.

  15. STS commented on Dec 19

    I normally associate the term “political hack” with people whose credentials on a given topic are slim to non-existent and who are paid (however circuitously) to parrot a particular opinion.

    You’re free to argue that Krugman’s academic star has dimmed a shade since part of his attention has been absorbed by political topics, but you can’t deny he was a legitimate star.

    And although Krugman is probably now making decent money for his books, I can’t see any way of interpreting his opinion as “bought.” His honestly held point of view happens to have a sizable constituency. Whadya know? Supply and demand. Funny how that works.

  16. Denzel commented on Dec 19

    This same video was posted on Calculated Risk last night…and boy did the dittoheads rise up in unison and whine. He’s been correct on the problems infecting the economy, and I guess that’s what makes them so angry and vile.

    I love it when the WSJ editors get their panties in a wad when he disses the economic voodoo known as supply side. And his credibility compared to Kudlow, Glassman, Hasset, Greenspan, or Bernanke…well, let’s just say there’s no comparison. Really, do any of those other ‘economists’ (and I use the term loosely) have any credibility left? BTW, you can purchase “Dow 36,000” at Amazon for $2.

  17. Curt commented on Dec 19

    I’ve been a fan of Krugman’s for a long time, but I’m getting fed up with his pro-Clinton, anti-Obama columns in the NYT. He appears to be angling for a cabinet position with the evil one.

  18. sysin3 commented on Dec 19


    Just keep speaking the truth as you see it. Your work is first-rate.

    (from my point of view, you are way too bullish …. LOL …. I hope that you are right and I am wrong, else we are all f*cked)

  19. Clyde commented on Dec 19

    When Ben Stein has credibility in Republican circles you know that the bar is low for the supply siders. Mortgage issue is insignificant, you know.

  20. Clyde commented on Dec 19

    When Ben Stein has credibility in Republican circles you know that the bar is low for the supply siders. Mortgage issue is insignificant, you know.

  21. dukeb commented on Dec 19

    Good stuff….nice and meaty. Thanks for the post.

  22. Whammer commented on Dec 20


    When you mention “dittoheads” I realize one of the great differences between the self-identified left and right.

    The “dittoheads” are happy to agree with everything that Limabaugh says. The left is much more fragmented and argumentative.

    “Ditto” behavior, like it or not, is much more effective from a marketing perspective. The reason you see the same ads on TV all the time is because they work through repetition.

    So, “dittoheads” tend to dominate the discourse becaues their rhetoric is repeated incesantly.

    All that being said, I don’t know why 1) dittoheads think they are independent thinkers, and 2) why the Dems can’t attack the dittos in an effective fashion.


  23. Mark Hessel commented on Dec 20


    Great post Barry. Some of it’s all just a ponzi scheme, isn’t it.

    I sent this to the Ron Paul campaign. I said Republican instead of Libertarian and cleaned it up a bit, maybe added a little while I was listening but I thought it was pertinent.

    Hi Ron,

    We’ve recently had a housing bubble, partly due to predatory lending practices.

    As a Libertarian, how do you feel about national lending laws like the following?

    1. You can’t borrow unless you have an income to pay for the loan accounting for cost of living expenses (plus at
    least a 50% margin of error.)
    2. Pre-payment penalties should be illegal. (This should be for all and any loans made.)
    3. Sub prime loans should account for future income. (You should be able to pay for future increases based on the
    formula listed in #4.)
    4. Cap all and any loans at 15%. (Put whatever % you want here. Honestly, I think 15% is high, certainly no
    more than 20%.)

    I’ve always followed 1. and 2. The most I’ve paid for a house loan is 10 1/2%.
    I’ve always tried to limit my housing cost to 1/3 of my income. Caveat emptor.

    Can our government under the US constitution try to enforce simple laws like these at a national level?

    If the above had been followed at a national level, this housing bubble would have never happened.
    You know this would be a cheap program to enforce at a national level compared to the collective damage
    this has already done. And it ain’t over yet.

    Or is it all just caveat emptor?

    Mark Hessel

    I personally think a recession has a 100% chance of happening within the next 6 seconds. I guess
    I disagree with Krugman there. I honestly didn’t believe him when he said 50% and I don’t hold
    it against him for saying a 50% chance. I’ve struggled on that guess all the time.

    Otherwise he was perfectly lucid.

    Look, as far as I can tell, the current housing bubble is less than the Savings and Loan problem in the 80’s
    compared to GDP, but that was bad. This is pretty close. Since this isn’t as bad as that problem, I don’t
    think we are headed for the Great Depression. But, why do we continue with letting it slide.
    How hard can it be at a national level to enforce the 4 above rules.

    Better yet. How hard would it be to have the President of the United States say “Hell,
    Iraq is a democracy. They should have a national election, with purple thumbs in the air,
    decide yes or no, 51%, Whether the United States should stay or go.”

    10 minutes. An election in Iraq would probably happen if GW said that on TV.

    I honestly think that if George Bush said that, it’s effect would be close to following the above
    4 lending rules for the next 10 years.

    10 minutes, 10 years. Isn’t life amazing.

  24. Eclectic commented on Dec 20

    Several things:

    On Krugman:

    It was an interesting recap of where we are, how we got here and where we might or might not be going. However, he didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t know, and in fact admitted that he hadn’t realized before, say, August, that the housing situation would descend to one producing so severe a financial crisis as to threaten SOLVENCY. Many of us here for months and months (in my case since long before I began to post here) have clearly understood that the crisis was all but predicted by the hocus-pocus leveraged derivatives markets used to hedge secondary portfolios of mortgage aggregators (that Benber N. Anke himself in the flesh has launched several covertly worded diatribes towards, even the same from Greenspan in 2005 – I’ve right here on this blog performed autopsies on several of those speeches in unbelievable detail, I must say), the natural outgrowth of hocus-pocus pro-forma EBITDA accountancy and the equally maniacal hocus-pocus supply-side economic theories that have held sway in economic and monetary policy for the last 25 years. And, no… it wasn’t all party related, wasn’t all Reagan related, and, no, supply-side economic theory was not the reason for the 1990s economic boom. It was a demographic phenomenon that anybody with any common sense and an understanding of history and psychology could see written on the wall in the early 1980s.

    On the Google HQ audience: I anticipate Krugman’s questioners were sincere regarding the nature of the differential in incomes between rich and poor in the U.S. and the world, because I share their concerns. I don’t know but assume many if not most of them were Google employees. I would have enjoyed being there and asking them about their attitudes regarding copyright infringement, which as you know is one of my pet concerns.

    To “Captious” (regarding your comments about being indifferent to real estate price reporting):

    You’re missing the point of the importance of public reporting of transaction prices. Nobody even cares for that matter if the sellers want to give large discounts to the buyers, but just report the correct price, and thus do not feed the momentum leading to erroneous pricing by appraisers. A kickback not accounted for in the transaction price (with the exception of trivial items of little value – a toaster, a bag of fruit, a dinner for two or heck, even a modest weekend hotel stay for a buying couple… but just NOT a Lexus!) is fraud, f-r-a-u-d under any reasonable interpretation.

    I’m not meaning to indicate the seller has defrauded the buyer privately, (necessarily, although the buyer AND the lender may be being defrauded), but that FRAUD is involved in reporting the transaction to the public that isn’t aware of the kickback and thus the erroneous price. The buyer and the seller KNOW of the kickbacks used as inducements. For each of them specifically, I am as indifferent as you are about how they negotiate the price. More power to them.*

    *For my readers here, that is the core basis for my strong support of a National Ombudsman Program for buyer/lender renegotiations of prior failed contract terms. It is THEIR business to settle these issues without the involvement of public money over and above the mere public costs of implementing the program.

    Back to the point:

    The PRICE of a real estate transaction is a public report, given to the government and to the public to reference overall PRICES, and very important decisions are made from these data by many parties, from the buyers right up to the Federal Reserve OMC’s decisions on monetary policy… and right on to arm-in-arm stage appearances as we saw a few days ago by heads of departments of government, such as Paulson at Treasury, the FDIC, FHA, the Fed, and maybe a dozen other departments and heads trying to FIX the problems that all the hocus-pocus phony pricing that you’re referencing caused in the first place.

    These reports should bear the requirements of sworn testimony under penalty of perjury for misrepresentation. Any aggregate pricing data given to government (local, state or federal) should be so s-w-o-r-n. If they want to play a game among themselves, fine… but if they want to report their prices, that’s no game the public should be exposed to. This is a hocus-pocus game long played by new car dealerships, although not as ponderously important or threatening to the national economy and currency as is fictional real estate reporting. They play the game with phony used car trade-in allowances and hocus-pocus so-called “zero interest” financing which most of the people in this country (whose children can’t find Kansas on a map) think is actually real.

    And last, for your inflation ranting self, Bwana:

    I got’chew some inflation right here to play Gabardine Go-Fish with:

  25. Tom C commented on Dec 20

    Krugamn’s current fixation is ‘income inequality’. Such has been a fixation of the left for as long as I can remember. The preferred solution of statists has always been confiscation of income through extreme progressivity yet the ‘problem’ endures. Why a larger share of income should be handed over to the national government is seen as a solution to economic inequality is a little baffling. Sensible in theory yet highly ineffective in practice. The nature and purpose of government makes it the least likely vehicle for accomplishing the that which Krugman would like to see.

  26. CaptiousNut commented on Dec 20


    You go put your comment in the proper thread and, I may respond to it.

    Barry writes, “This is why I hate doing political stuff: People lose their minds…”

    Well, the fact that you refer to your little Krugman post as “political stuff” should be the hint that he’s not most accurately described as an “economist”.

  27. Francois commented on Dec 20

    “The preferred solution of statists”

    By “statists” you mean Warren Buffet? Bill Gross? I’m not sure they’d like this qualifier apply to them.

    “has always been confiscation of income.”

    Confiscation? Oh! You mean taxes, right?

    Please, try not to use incendiary language where a simple descriptor would do. It’s annoying.

    Do you know another way than taxation to attempt a minimally equitable contribution from everyone to the common good?

    Voluntary contributions perhaps?
    Santa Claus?

  28. Francois commented on Dec 20

    Gore, then Krugman.
    The reality-based guys.
    No wonder the neocons are chocking on their steak these days.

    Tough titties!

  29. eightnine2718281828mu5 commented on Dec 20

    described as an “economist”.

    Yes, only the Laffer deserves that appellation.

  30. Karl K commented on Dec 20

    Yes, Mankiw will have more influence that Krugman. Why? Because Mankiw will have sold millions of textbooks to students of all political stripes, whereas Krugman will preach to the liberal/statist choir who are devotees of the NYT op ed page.

    Yes, Bush Derangement Syndrome is an apt term. Not because I am a Bush supporter — believe me, I have a ton of problems with him — but because so many of his opponents invariably engage in suicidal head explosions when W’s name gets mentioned. And Krugman is the poster child for the syndrome — I expect him to come leaping off the page and grab my shirt with both hands.

    Krugman was once a great economist — or, perhaps more accurately, he has chosen to abandon thinking and writing like one. He is now mere polemicist, with his own political axe to grind, and his own bete noirs to wrestle with. He is a million times smarter than Maureen Dowd or Bob Herbert. But, sadly enough, he builds his castles, and knocks them down, in the very same intellectual sandbox.

  31. eightnine2718281828mu5 commented on Dec 20

    What drives Republicans crazy is that Krugman had the boy king’s venality figured out years ago; before Iraq, before Katrina, before Scooters pardon, etc.

    Sorry, that’s just a fact.

  32. eightnine2718281828mu5 commented on Dec 20

    Hey Barry! You need to do a quick edit on mine too since it was in response to Karl’s use of the phrase. :-)

  33. Eclectic commented on Dec 20


    You had the stage all to yourself. You were in the limelight, read by millions in the current BP hot topic… and what’d you do?

    Blew it all by chastising me for not tracking back to the BP hinterlands to find your comment to post my observation there… so that both my comments and any reply you wanted to make would be read by a number of individuals significantly close to ==ZIP==

    Speak up man!… Haven’t you been here long enough to know that Bwana rolls these topics faster than spinnin’ the Wheel Of Fortune?

    We’re already at risk of being un-read.

    Say your piece!… What is it about the real estate price reporting in discussion that you support or don’t support?

    What do you want… an engraved invitation?

  34. CaptiousNut commented on Dec 20


    Yeah, I blew it. How am I going to recover from this missed opportunity of a lifetime?

    By the way, I have barely ever read this blog. I find the commenters, well, let’s just say to be of *diverse* intelligence. The Forbes blog is where I hang out mostly since I got Greg Mankiw to close his comment section.

    Try to make it through the night without knowing my full stance on real estate price reporting. Perhaps assure yourself that I am afraid to argue with you in the “limelight”.

  35. engineer al commented on Dec 21

    Didn’t Gregory Mankiw try to gloss over manufacturing job losses in the first Bush term by re-defining “hamburger flipping” as manufacturing?

    The skilled tradesman (layed off from his machinist employment at middle-age) leaning over the BigMac table at McD’s might have different thoughts on the “definition”. Anyone who suggests to the old machinist that rising “income inequality” is a natural consequence of free markets might get a little something “extra” in their burger.

    We like Paul Krugman.

  36. Karl K commented on Dec 21

    If I recall correctly, the statement about hamburger flippers as “manufacturers” was a comment about the very vague definition the Census Bureau has of manufacturing. By their definition a guy who re-treads tires is a “manufacturer.”

    But hey, why deal with context? Let’s demonize. Much easier.

    For the respondent who claims that he got Mankiw to stop allowing comments — well, what a dubious badge of honor.

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