Paul Krugman Says He's Not Responding To Niall Ferguson (But Kind Of Does)

Nobel Prize-winning Economist Paul Krugman, professor of international trade and economics at Princeton University, pauses du
Nobel Prize-winning Economist Paul Krugman, professor of international trade and economics at Princeton University, pauses during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. Krugman discussed the performance of bonds, Fed monetary policy, and the U.S. economy compared with that of Japan. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Paul Krugman is giving Niall Ferguson the silent treatment. Sort of.

“Some readers have been asking when I’m going to reply to certain rants aimed my way,” Krugman wrote on his New York Times blog Friday. “The answer is, never.”

Though he didn’t mention it directly, Krugman’s post was almost definitely a reference to a series of blog posts from conservative Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, published on The Huffington Post this week. This “don’t feed the trolls” approach marks a change for Krugman; The two men have a storied, public Red Sox-Yankees-esque rivalry that includes debates on world stages, the blogosphere and television.

Ferguson’s latest series of attacks, called “Krugtron the Invincible, Parts 1, 2 and 3,” take aim at a variety of Krugman’s arguments, but the Cliff’s notes version is basically: Krugman is wrong pretty much a lot, refuses to admit it and has marshaled an army of lesser-known, but still known, economic writers to defend his wrong ideas. (Full disclosure: we at HuffPostBiz probably fit into this category.)

Ferguson also went on HuffPostLive and MSNBC’s Morning Joe to re-iterate these points.

Other than Krugman’s post Friday, he’s largely stayed above the fray, but his gaggle of "sycophantic" econ-writers have not. Matthew O’Brien of the Atlantic notes the irony of Ferguson insisting Krugman admit he’s wrong when the Harvard professor has had some opinions that can be called controversial at best and incorrect at worst.

Matthew Yglesias of Slate hits a similar note, while simultaneously claiming to “turn the other cheek” at Ferguson:

"Ferguson might want to consider a meta-rational approach in which he wonders if the range of people who disagree with him about such matters doesn't possibly reflect Ferguson's own wrongness rather than the vast reach of the Krugman conspiracy."

And finally Business Insider’s Josh Barro probably offers the best take because it includes a Lindsay Lohan reference:

“Niall Ferguson will teach us the importance of humility! Presumably in the same manner that Lindsay Lohan can teach us the importance of sobriety.”



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