Liveblogging World War II: October 11, 1943
Analyzing Emergent Properties of Systems of Decentralized Exchange: Part IIIA of My "The Economist as ?: The Public Square and Economists: Equitable Growth Notes for October 11, 2013

Friday Cartoon Super Chicken Weblogging: "You Knew This Job Was Dangerous When You Took It, Fred Noah!"[1]

Super chicken and fred Google Search

Somehow this[2] engulfs Noah Smith--on weblogging hiatus.[3] He responds at the appropriate level, properly focusing on the ethology of the Egyptian plover::

Ferguson references me in part 1 of his rant: "The resemblance between Krugman and Voltron was suggested by one of the gaggle of bloggers who are to Krugman what Egyptian plovers are to crocodiles."… and again in part 3…. Having been named, but not successfully shamed, I feel I ought to make a few points in response:

  1. The Egyptian plover does not, in fact, eat meat out of the mouths of Nile crocodiles. That is a myth.
  2. Ferguson attempts to peg me as a Krugman yes-man. This is lazy and uninformed on his part, since everyone who reads my blog or Twitter feed knows that I am a Brad DeLong yes-man, not a Krugman yes-man.
  3. Some of Krugman's critics have good points. Others seem driven mainly by personal dislike for Krugman's polemical style or liberal politics. But a few seem to be motivated by a peculiar type of intellectual inferiority complex. They seem to believe that by catching a famous "smart guy" like Krugman making a mistake, they can prove themselves to be highly intelligent. Naturally, this doesn't actually work. Ferguson should worry about whether he falls into this latter category of Krugman detractors.
  4. Of course, there is a fourth reason for criticizing a public intellectual: pure enjoyment. Ferguson seems too angry and bitter for his Krugman-bashing to be motivated by pure fun, but my own occasional Ferguson-bashing (see here and here) was motivated each time by the peculiar glee that comes from giving a really bad article the thorough point-by-point thrashing that it deserved.
  5. My advice to Ferguson would be: Unless you're aiming for your legacy as a public intellectual to be "that British guy who constantly went after Paul Krugman", I'd suggest finding something else to write about. History, for example. I hear you're a very good historian.

[1] There is some question as to whether Fred is a character proper for reviving in the twenty-first century--he is, after all, a limp-wristed lisping lion who dresses funny. But I have always found Fred hilarious. And Fred is (a) brave, (b), loyal, (c ) intelligent, and (d) has a good heart. It is important, I think, to reinforce the point that bravery, loyalty, intelligence, and charity make you a hero. Much better to be a Fred than an Akhilleus. Full stop.

[2] We all remember Niall Ferguson quoting the Congressional Budget Office as writing "it is unclear whether such a reduction [in Medicare spending] can be achieved" when what the Congressional Budget Office had actually written was: "it is unclear whether such a reduction can be achieved through greater efficiencies in the delivery of healthcare or will instead reduce access to care or the quality of care".

Well, he is back misciting the Congressional Budget Office again, claiming in the Wall Street Journal that (a) "the question is not if the United States will default but when and on which of its rapidly spiraling liabilities" and (b) "a very striking feature of the latest CBO report is how much worse [the long-run fiscal situation is than last year". Both are false: the world is a surprising place, but implicit-default-via-inflation is a low-probability leaf on the outcomes tree that remains generations away; and the most striking feature of the CBO report is who much better the long-run fiscal situation is than it looked last year.

[3] Why does it engulf Noah Smith? Here's a clue or two::

Noahpinion: The Ferg-beast attacks: I'm breaking my blogging hiatus to briefly respond to Niall Ferguson, not because I'm mad, but because it's fun. For those who haven't seen it, Ferguson has posted a massive three-part rant (part 1, part 2, part 3) in which he attempts to take...

Noahpinion: Do the inflationistas really believe what they say?: The Inflationista Hall of Shame includes New Classical economists, Austrians, conservative politicians, some Wall Street macro types, faceless European institutions, and Niall Ferguson. Of course it isn't just people in the popular press ...

Noahpinion: What do econ blog audiences like to read?: My small contribution to the Great Niall Ferguson Smackdown of August 2012. 4. In which John Quiggin intellectually pulpifies Steve Williamson Me "taking the piss" out of Steve Williamson, as an Australian (like John Quiggin) would say. 5.

Noahpinion: Should Japan "reflate"?: Niall Ferguson shows that financial collapses precede civilizational declines. Precedence does not equal causation. Remember, financial markets are forward-looking, so if people see a civilizational collapse coming, of course they're going to ...

Noahpinion: Niall, the British Empire is over. Accept it: I have been known to tease a fellow blogger or two, but there is really only one writer who makes me truly mad, and that is British historian Niall Ferguson. I will explain exactly why he makes me so mad at the end of this post. First, though, I ...

Noahpinion: Thursday Roundup (3/29/2012): Steve Landsburg, saying that public sexual harassment is OK. Niall Ferguson, saying Asian Americans aren't real Americans. But the worst Steve Williamson ever does is insult other bloggers...and this is the blogosphere, so that happens.

Noahpinion: What do inflation hawks know that we don't?: Hasn't Niall Ferguson admitted he was wrong and yet somehow he is still considered a profound thinker? They know that the Fed has been very active in response to the crisis. What they seem to ignore or forget is why the Fed has been active...

Noahpinion: ]Thursday Roundup (1/26/2012)](http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com201201thursday-roundup-1262012.html): I have never called anyone an "idiot". In fact, I can't think of a single senior economist whom I think is an idiot. To my knowledge, the only person that I've ever deliberately personally insulted on this blog is Niall Ferguson...

Noahpinion: Niall Ferguson does not know what "Western…: I am forced to break my self-imposed blogging moratorium, in order to comment on an article by Niall Ferguson that recently appeared in what is left of Newsweek magazine. In this article, Ferguson warns darkly of a rapid collapse of American...

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