[Marxism] Cowardice Pays: Reflections on Academic Abdication and a Paul Krugman Lecture in Iowa City

Politicus E. epoliticus at gmail.com
Thu Apr 2 15:03:51 MDT 2009

The entire clique of US-based "progressive" or "left-liberal"
economists is an abomination.  Examples are in abundance, e.g., Paul
Krugman, Brad Delong, Dani Rodrik, Simon Johnson, Joe Stiglitz, etc.

A common error of this clique is the neo-Keynesian fallacy that state
policy falls out of the sky, more or less.  Krugman regularly commits
this error on his blog.  Delong does also, in a different guise:

"... In addition, governments need to run extra-large deficits.
Spending - whether by the United States government during World War
II, following the Reagan tax cuts of 1981, by Silicon Valley during
the late 1990's, or by home buyers in America's south and on its
coasts in the 2000's - boosts employment and reduces unemployment. And
government spending is as good as anybody else's..."

What is Delong's political analysis?  Why, the entire burden of
explanation is placed on the shoulders of an individual senator,
"Voinovich, who is the 60th vote in the Senate - the vote needed to
close off debate and enact a bill."  We are not informed of the
relation between state policy and class power.  There is no discussion
of the role of the coercive institutions of the capitalist state.  I
seem to remember that when certain politicians become bothersome, for
whatever reason, then they are readily removed by the production of
some legal justification:  Ted Stevens, Marion Barry, James,
Blagojevich, etc., etc.

The other members of this clique are not much better.  Krugman,
Stiglitz, and DeLong simply lack all manner of political acumen.  But
both Rodrik and Johnson are somewhat more attentive to matters of
class power, in their bourgeois fashion, and so at least have the
merit of being more sincere;  and their sincerity means that they are
perhaps more dangerous.


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