I confess to being shocked by the exchange between Martin Wolf and Felix Salmon in this week’s New York Times Book Review. First Salmon had criticized Wolf for using the terms “net external liability position” and “real unit labor costs” instead of “national debt” and “wages”. Wolf pointed out that the first two terms and the second two mean different things and concludes, “[if] Salmon is unaware of such distinctions...., one must ask whether he was qualified to review the book.”
Salmon’s reply actually confirms that he doesn’t understand. And this is really basic stuff, that anyone writing for a national audience ought to know. How can Salmon explain this?
When was the last time we’ve seen such an embarrassing, high-visibility economics fail?