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Paul Krugman Awarded Nobel Prize For Economics 425

Posted by kdawson
from the too-smart-fr-government dept.
zogger writes in his journal, "The guy who put together the concept of geographical location combined with cheap transportation leading to 'like trades with like' and the rise of superindustrial trading blocs has won the Nobel economics science prize. He's a bigtime critic of a lot of this administration's policies, and is unabashedly an FDR-economy styled fella. Here is his blog at the NYTimes." Reader yoyoq adds that Krugman's career choice was inspired by reading Asimov's Foundation series at a young age.
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Paul Krugman Awarded Nobel Prize For Economics

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  • by religious freak (1005821) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:38PM (#25374941)
    He was on the newshour with Jim Lehrer last night and spoke intelligently and seemed very down to earth. I had a real respect for him when he mentioned he was inspired by Asimov.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/module.html?mod=0&pkg=13102008&seg=5 [pbs.org]
  • Deserved (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RJBeery (956252) <rjbeery AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:40PM (#25374967)
    I'm not saying that Paul Krugman does not deserve a Nobel Prize, but I would like to point out that the judging and awarding process of said prize is subject to the political agenda of those involved, just like the wording of this submission.
    • Honestly, as long as you voice an opinion in some editorial form that serves more than a handful of national papers, you are inevitably tied to an agenda by someone else even if you don't claim one (that's not to say Krugman hides his agenda).

      My point, of course, is that whining about agenda is a symptom of feeling the need crying bias about other people's ideas/opinions. Apparently we, intelligent beings, have come so far that we'd rather just bitch about bias than have a worthwhile discourse.

      In summary
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RJBeery (956252)
        When the TRUE agenda differs from the STATED agenda, I have a problem. Conservative talk radio, Planned Parenthood, the NRA, and the DailyKos have their agendas but it doesn't bother me because they seem consistent. What bothers me is when proclaimed non-political entities seem to have significant political bias driving their actions.
        • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @05:34PM (#25375629)

          Conservative talk radio is consistent? Actually let's put this in context. [fill in the blank] talk radio is consistent?

          One thing that people have to remember is that conservatives more likely than not are not going to win awards. And that liberals will...

          Think hard about this. What is a conservative? Somebody who believes in their ideals and fundamentals. Thus they are not thinking about the future, but the past.

          On the other hand a liberal challenges the notion of today and looks at what could be.

          A conservative today is yesterday's liberal.

          Go back in history and look at conservative stances, and liberal stances.

          Women rights: Conservative of 2000 would say hey yes why not. Liberal of 1800 would say "hey yes why not." Conservative of 1800 would say, "blasphemy"

          So you see, a conservative will always be two or three, or four steps behind the real action...

          • by bendodge (998616) <bendodge@@@bsgprogrammers...com> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:22PM (#25376783) Homepage Journal

            A true economic conservative is someone who believes in traditional economic liberalism. (Liberalism used to mean 'freedomism'.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by wellingj (1030460)
            First congresswoman: Jannette Rankin [wikipedia.org] from Montana in 1916 before national women's suffrage. She did not vote for the Declaration of WW1 and WW2. She stood on her Ideals and Fundamentals.

            Marting Luther King, Jr. also Republican, died for his Ideals and Fundamentals.

            Ron Paul doesn't seem to be steps behind the real action on the economic bust and the problems that interventionist policy causes. He stood up and told the truth to the Republican party about terrorism and the economy. He stood on his Ideals
      • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @05:26PM (#25375505)
        Says the obvious democrat. But seriously, I think you're wrong.

        My point, of course, is that whining about agenda is a symptom of feeling the need crying bias about other people's ideas/opinions

        Right, just like Einstein's theory of relativity is a symptom of his hatred of Newton. The other option is that the nobel committee has a clear bias towards what Americans view as the left, and people who point that out are doing so in an attempt to find the truth. Or, in other words, you're showing your own bias by your attack. If he's wrong, point it out, but the fact that he's crying "bias" just implies that he's of the opinion that they're biased, not that he feels insecure.

        • by Admiral Ag (829695) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:51PM (#25376985)

          "The other option is that the nobel committee has a clear bias towards what Americans view as the left,"

          No.

          The Nobel Prizes are Scandinavian institutions. To Scandinavians, what Americans think is "left" looks like extreme far right wing kookery, and what Americans think is "right" is simply beyond the pale.

          Americans have no business talking about the left and the right in terms of their own politics which is extremely right wing, extremely religious and extremely authoritarian compared to the rest of the world's democracies. You guys need to realize that it's you that are out of step and it is your politics that is weird and kooky.

          How's that then. You've made the Canadians look normal!! Hang your heads in shame.

          • by alvinrod (889928) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @08:51PM (#25377477)
            If you look here [politicalcompass.org] and here [politicalcompass.org] you will notice that most European countries are not much more economically left than the US Democrat party. The Scandinavian countries are much less authoritarian than either major US party, but on the economical scale, they're not terribly far off for the most part. For some countries the Republican party doesn't appear to be too much further to the right either.

            I think that the one major difference is the universal (or social if you prefer) healthcare that exists in most European countries. Beyond that, I don't think that there are any major differences that I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure some European slashdot readers could provide a few more examples.

            For the most part, things probably aren't that different. I think that the whole thing is just some meme started by Europeans to mock Americans (as though there weren't already enough reasons.) some more. There's certainly a larger difference on the social scale, but that really doesn't have much to do with economically left or right. You could be a completely socialist country or a completely free market country and still legalize prostitution, marijuana, abortions, etc.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Colin Smith (2679)

              or a completely free market country and still legalize prostitution, marijuana, abortions, etc.

              "still"?

              There is a fundamental contradiction between being a fiscal and social conservative. One requires a belief that government should be small and weak with reducing regulations and laws. The other requires that the government be large and strong with increasing regulation and laws. The American definition of Liberal is equally contradictory; greater freedom through greater regulation...

              These contradictions exist because the political system is one dimensional; left and right, and the political system i

          • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:16PM (#25377665)

            Granted to the US is to the right of europe, buts funny you mention this because there really isnt a nobel peace prize in economics. This award established in 1968 by a bank with a lot of political pull. Its not a Nobel award. It just lifts the name. The name of this award is: The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. [wikipedia.org]

            So in other words you're criticizing the US by holding up a questionable award which only exists because of authoritarian political clout by a financial institution in 1960s Sweden? Pot meet Kettle.

        • by ClassMyAss (976281) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @08:51PM (#25377485) Homepage

          The other option is that the nobel committee has a clear bias towards what Americans view as the left, and people who point that out are doing so in an attempt to find the truth.

          The truth is, for better or worse, most people that remain in academia (and generally speaking, most people with high levels of education) tend to lean left. Blame academic bias, truth, or tradition as you choose, it doesn't matter; it's probably a bit of all three, honestly. Regardless, since a) academics usually win Nobels, and b) most academics lean left, the fact that those that win Nobels lean left is not a matter of bias on the part of the judges, it's just what happens when your pick winners from a pre-skewed population.

          In other words, move along, folks, there's nothing to see here.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Does that mean the Nobel people endorse all their political viewpoints? Even though I might agree they were more deserving.

      Krugman, is getting a nod for specific contributions to economic theory, not full approval of a progressive worldview. And in many specific areas of global free trade, Krugman is closer to Friedman than the duds who will be inheriting the current mess. (And likely to make it worse, I might add)

      But Krugman's worthiness in economic theory should not be diminished just because he is a stin

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shatrat (855151)

        Does that mean the Nobel people endorse all their political viewpoints?

        Since Al Gore and Yasir Arafat, it seems like political viewpoint is the most important thing for consideration for a Nobel prize.

    • the issues involved are to some degree subjective. its not like physics where you can make a hard true or a hard false out of an issue

      therefore, it is absolutely impossible to talk about economics without some sort of bias. of course there is blatant purposeful bias, and then there is an honest attempt at intellectual honesty, in spite of the bit of bias we all have

      everyone serious realizes this. then there is sort of paranoid partisan type that sees agendas and bias everywhere they look. this kind of hysterical approach to the subject matter only cheapens you, so you need to lose your hypersensitivity to the issue of bias, you only make yourself look foolish

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      This really requires mentioning that the prize in Economics is not one of the Nobel Prizes, though there is limited political influence on the selection. The more-often-criticized selection, the Peace Prize, has much heavier political influence, but is decided by a different committee and hosted by a different country.

      The scientific Nobel Prizes are quite free of political agenda.

    • Re:Deserved (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @05:29PM (#25375547)

      Interesting...

      Did you maybe happen to look at what he won his prize on?

      It actually is a very interesting theory and idea...

      Oh but wait he is a LIBERAL... and thus he can't have good ideas...

      • Re:Deserved (Score:4, Interesting)

        by yali (209015) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:59PM (#25377041)

        Especially interesting is that the work Krugman won his prize for is about global free trade. Like most economists who've seriously studied the issue, Krugman has concluded that free trade is unabashedly a good thing.

        But in the current U.S. political climate, free trade is mostly being touted by conservatives and reviled by liberals. So if you're a conservative and you want to claim liberal bias, you have to account for the fact that Krugman got the prize for work you probably agree with. And if you're a protectionist liberal who wants to boast, you're similarly stuck.

        And if you're just generally tired of ideologues crowing about victory or whining about bias when neither is deserved, you can enjoy the whole spectacle of people getting tongue tied when someone wins the Nobel prize on (gasp) the strength of his ideas.

        • citation needed (Score:5, Informative)

          by yali (209015) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @08:13PM (#25377185)

          Some supporting evidence making it hard to fit this prize into an ideological box...

          In his popular writing, including his NY Times column, Krugman is a pretty outspoken liberal on most issues. But within his academic expertise -- which is what he won the prize for -- he is very willing to depart from liberal orthodoxy if that's where logic and evidence lead him.

  • by simaolation (1381125) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:43PM (#25374997)
    ...shit! Trantor is only worth as much as Compton now!
  • by mcg1969 (237263) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:46PM (#25375037)

    only serves to diminish the value of this award. IF he starts to link it to his political views, then he'll bring derision upon himself and the Nobel committee. But he doesn't need to, because in his prior life as an full-time economist he did work that was genuinely worthy of recognition. I've spoken with several conservative economists who admire that work, even as they wondered "what happened to him?"

  • Flat earth... (Score:3, Informative)

    by lelitsch (31136) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:52PM (#25375109)

    ...with the only speed bump being the Slashdot editing process. Seriously, this was in every newspaper PRINT edition before it showed up on Slashdot.

    • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04@highp o i nt.edu> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @05:13PM (#25375371)

      Nobody comes here to stay current with the news; we come here for discussion that's better than most other places.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by MrHanky (141717)

        No, discussion is not better here than most other places. Sure, there are often a few informed people around, but far from always. Most science debates show that the average slashdotter doesn't have the slightest idea about what science is, for example. Most technology discussions show that there are loads of fanboys with mod points, and loads of people with nothing to say who know these fanboys have mod points, and go out to say whatever gives them their +5.

        I come here mostly to flame.

  • by StevenMaurer (115071) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:53PM (#25375111) Homepage

    Safe as Houses [nytimes.com]

    A snippet (only 3 paragraphs to fall within fair use):

    I used to live next door to a Russian emigre. One day he asked me to explain something that puzzled him about his new country. "This place seems very rich," he said, "but I never see anyone making anything. How does the country earn its money?"

    ...

    In other words, a fuller answer to my former neighbor would be that these days, Americans make a living selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from the Chinese. Somehow, that doesn't seem like a sustainable lifestyle.

    How solid, then, is America's economic recovery? The British have a phrase that applies: "safe as houses." Our economy is as safe as houses. Unfortunately, given current prices and our dependence on foreign lenders, houses aren't safe at all.

    Whine all you want about the Nobel Committee having a political agenda. Right is right. And Krugman was right.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Hindsight is always 20/20 (I'm talking about the Nobel Price committee)
    • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:13PM (#25376685) Journal

      Right is right. And Krugman was right.

      No. Everything you are crediting him with saying was WRONG.

      "This place seems very rich," he said, "but I never see anyone making anything. How does the country earn its money?"

      In fact the US is the #1 manufacturer in the world, more than twice as much as #2, and several times ahead of the likes of China.

      The notion that we are a nation that makes nothing but houses, is idiotic. Go anywhere in the world, and you'll see mostly US-made airplanes (Boeing), turbines (GE, Pratt&Whitney), heavy construction equipment (CAT, Mack, Peterbuilt, etc.), et al.

      Our economy is as safe as houses. Unfortunately, given current prices and our dependence on foreign lenders, houses aren't safe at all.

      Nothing here predicts the US bank and lending market collapse. Quite the opposite really. In fact foreign lenders got the short end of the stick this time around, so they were the un-safe ones. He's only right that prices were ridiculously high, but that's a bit like predicting the sky will be blue in the future...

      • by kisak (524062) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @03:24AM (#25379865) Homepage Journal
        Krugman is not denying that US is producing stuff in the article, but he is critizing the notion that the economy during Bush is growing in a healthy way and that the tax cuts for the rich is the reason it is growing. The claim from republicans on slashdot and other internet sites have been for years that the economy is growing almost as strong as during the Clinton years when measured in GDP, and some sort of notion that liberals that claim the economy is doing bad are whiners. What Krugman is pointing out is that the growth coming from borrowed money from China, is not used to increase the US's productivity, but to fund a war and a housing bubble. Today, I guess we can agree that Krugman was right, not the republican talkingheads.

        The most interesting paragraph from the Krugman article is this one:

        Now, any economics textbook will tell you that it's fine to borrow from abroad if the money is used to expand the economy's productive capacity. When 19th-century America borrowed from Europe to build railroads, it was also enhancing its ability to repay its debts later. But we aren't borrowing to build productive capacity. As a share of G.D.P., investment other than housing construction is below its average between 1980 and 2000, and way below its level at the end of the 1990's.

  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:58PM (#25375171)
    It's "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel."
  • by riker1384 (735780) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @04:59PM (#25375201)
    The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences is a prize given by the Bank of Sweden, not by the Nobel Foundation. It is not one of the prizes established by Alfred Nobel. It's named after him and inspired by Nobel Prizes, but it's not a Nobel Prize.
  • Yet another nobel winner for a mixed economy which offers the general public a hedge against the risks taken for, say, entrepreneurial endeavors, trade policies which encourage the retention of jobs and the continuation of a healthy middle class, and regulations which will insure at least a basic check on corporate malfeasance and market consolidation.

    How many more politicians and faux-news talking heads will continue to push the pseudo-scientific religion that is reaganomics?

    • by MagikSlinger (259969) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @05:46PM (#25375779) Homepage Journal

      How many more politicians and faux-news talking heads will continue to push the pseudo-scientific religion that is reaganomics?

      Humans are capable of believing untrue things for a very long time, even after reality begins to seriously challenge those beliefs. The Left has long-cherished beliefs (Example: Unions are good for workers, My Counter-Example: The number of Unions up until the 60s that prohibited blacks from working at a union shop). The Right has its long-cherished beliefs.

      There are a lot of possible explanations why people are like that, but the more important thing is to engage those people by asking questions about the basis of their belief and learning yourself. If someone says something, and you don't know if it's true or not, take some effort to find out if it is. Most of the time, you can Google the issue and find a lot of people have done the hard work for you. You just have to verify if their logic is sound and inferences are valid.

      Krugman, via his blog and columns, does try his best to do this. In fact, he often posts links to early versions of his papers and mathematics on his NY Times blog and lets his readers pick it apart. He and Tyler Cowan (a libertarian leaning economist) have very civil debates via their blogs.

      Most *-wing sites simply tune out contrary voices with more chanting and weak arguments that bolster that community's feelings on right and wrong. In short: people judge arguments by its truthiness, not its validity.

      And for the record, we cannot judge if Reagnomics worked because Reagonomics is:

      1. reduce the growth of government spending,
      2. reduce marginal tax rates on income from labor and capital,
      3. reduce government regulation of the economy,
      4. control the money supply to reduce inflation.

      To be honest, I don't believe he achieved those four goals during his presidency, so I'm not sure one can say Reagonomics worked or not:

      1. Government spending as a percentage of GDP [cbo.gov]
      2. Tax receipts as percentage of GDP [project.org]
      3. Quantifying regulation [nytimes.com]: Notice the Clinton years come out looking pretty good too (i.e., congress is as much to blame/credit as the President)
      4. Inflation from 1913 to present [inflationdata.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by glwtta (532858)
        (Example: Unions are good for workers, My Counter-Example: The number of Unions up until the 60s that prohibited blacks from working at a union shop)

        That's a counterexample for "Unions are perfect", not for "Unions are good". I don't have any strong opinions on unions, one way or another, but I just hate to see a bogus argument go unchallenged.
      • And for the record, we cannot judge if Reagnomics worked because Reagonomics is:

        The point of Reagonomics was to increase the amount of goods that people have and can choose to have. The idea was to stimulate production by encouraging investment. To some extent, Reaganomics is the Karl Marx critique of capitalism applied full tilt - overproduction, based on the observation that, if you produce a ton of stuff, competition emerges and prices fall.

        Investors can get really rich, but a lot take a beating, thus

    • Where was your fanboy-ism for the Nobel when the Austrian School types were winning it?

      What's plainly idiotic about your post is that despite Krugman's other political views, the work in which he won his Nobel for advocated for free trade heavily. He was in part rejected for a job in the first Clinton Administration because he thought their early protectionist views were disastrous, and he lobbied for free trade policies in the 90's.

      I'm no fan of the man, and he does advocate some uncomfortably nanny-state

  • Here is a good synopsis and collection of his recent work compiled by an Economics professor at George Mason University.

    Marginal Revolution: Paul Krugman wins the Nobel Prize [marginalrevolution.com]
  • i know that there is some friction between the hard sciences and the soft sciences. and that physics, chemistry, and math types tend to look down in disdain on the economics, sociology, and psychology types

    but there really is no need to blatantly use the "sci-fi" label for an economics story. really slashdot, come on now

  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @05:30PM (#25375577)
    Reading the conservative slams on Krugman's Nobel is like reading the Timecube posts on every Slashdot physics story.

    Except that the grammar is distinctly better on the Timecube comments.

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