Friday, February 26, 2016


ProGrowthLiberal said...

I always do. Which is why I skip the resume and go straight to the analysis. Of course as Peter notes - Friedman provided none. So Romer and Romer's rebuttal was all too easy. Time for some hard work - a real analysis. Anybody?

Sandwichman said...

The first I heard of Friedman's numbers, I ignored them as "rosy scenario" projections of trends-with-benefits. Add up all the best outcomes of the positives and ignore any potential negatives. This kind of promotional rhetoric happens all the time in economics -- not just GOP/Laffer/voodoo economics, either. Trust me, it does.

Case in point the "built-in mechanism" in Robert Solow's 1973 takedown, "Is the End of the World at Hand." of the Limits to Growth argument. I mention that one because I prescribe it as a reading for my Labour and the Environment course. It exemplifies the "oh, never mind those externalities -- they are incidental (we'll just internalize 'em)" view that predominates STILL in mainstream environmental economics. "Internalizing the externalities" is shorthand for "then a miracle occurs" step two in the famous cartoon.

Nothing new here. It is the Mutual Assured Destruction response of Krugman and the Gang of Four that interests me. That wasn't about Friedman's pollyanna analysis; it was about intimidating and silencing those who are not authorized to commit the kind of "then a miracle occurs" step that the accredited authorities take as a matter of course. "How DARE someone commit that SIN without OUR permission!"

When the same kinds of criticisms are directed at mainstream economics by the "heterodox," they are ignored, brushed off with an "all models are wrong" shrug or responded to with a shitstorm of ad hominem derision at the unqualified simpletons raising the objections. One possible positive outcome of the Friedman/Krugman Gang of Four affair is that it brings out in the open the partisan hypocrisy that revolves around who has license to use the then-a-miracle-occurs step and who doesn't.