John Quiggin: Krugman, Keynes, Kalecki, Konczal:
Paul Krugman’s recent columns… have made interesting reading… a marked shift to the left both…. Among the critical points he has made
- Endorsement of Kalecki’s argument (which he got via Konczal) that “hatred for Keynesian economics has less to do with the notion that unemployment isn’t a proper subject of policy than about the notion of shifting power over the economy’s destiny away from big business and toward elected officials.”
- Rejection of the Hicks-Samuelson synthesis of Keynesian macroeconomics and neoclassical microeconomics and advocacy of (at a minimum) comprehensive financial controls
- Abandonment of the idea that the economics profession is engaged in honest intellectual debate, in favor of the conclusion that the rightwing of the profession, including leading economists, is characterized by denialism and bad faith. As he says, while many economists would like to believe otherwise ” you go to economic debates with the profession you have, not the profession you want.”
As with most intellectual shifts, it is hard, and not particularly helpful to assign a precise date. These themes have been evident for a while, but for me at least, this is the first time the points have been made so clearly…. Krugman is certainly going to upset plenty of people in the econ profession with this. But… it’s a case of sauce for the gander. The public choice school has routinely represented economic arguments for government intervention as the product of rent-seeking by interest groups, and the economists who make such arguments as pawns or hirelings of these groups. Still, this marks a striking shift in macroeconomics, where only five years ago, the leading figures were congratulating themselves on the convergence between saltwater and freshwater schools.