Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good Economists, Terrible Columnists

What is it about writing op-eds that makes smart economists say stupid things? Paul Krugman is a prime example. Few of his fellow economists dispute Krugman's rigorous academic work on international economics. His New York Times column is another story.

Apparently Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz has gone down the same road with this recent op-ed:

Neo-liberal market fundamentalism was always a political doctrine serving certain interests. It was never supported by economic theory. Nor, it should now be clear, is it supported by historical experience. Learning this lesson may be the silver lining in the cloud now hanging over the global economy.
Stiglitz is right to say that rhetoric about markets has not always matched policy. But he's dead wrong on the facts: the introduction of more free market mechanisms into the developing world and the first world for that matter are generally prescriptions for economic growth.

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