Paul Krugman: Niall Ferguson doesn't understand "basic macroeconomics"Historians in the News
tags: Paul Krugman, Niall Ferguson
Paul Krugman accuses Harvard historian Niall Ferguson of failing Macroecon 101... again.
Brad DeLong catches Niall Ferguson making another whoopsie. And while chasing NF isn’t worth the effort for its own sake, I think there is a broader lesson here: namely, the importance of knowing what you don’t know.
My own unpleasantness with Ferguson began when he tried to weigh in on monetary versus fiscal policy without understanding basic macroeconomics. Later, he tried to critique official inflation numbers without knowing enough about that subject to tell the difference between the experts and the cranks. Now he’s demonstrating, rather embarrassingly, that he doesn’t know how to read CBO reports.
What I find amazing is the failure to learn the meta-lesson here, which is not to wade into such matters without being quite sure you know what you’re doing. In particular, if you think you’ve found a massively important fact that somehow all the economists have missed — like a drastic deterioration in CBO’s estimate of the long-run US budget outlook, somehow missed by everyone else reading the agency’s reports — you really, really want to be sure that you’re not just misreading the numbers.
Knowing what you don’t know is very important.
comments powered by Disqus
- Why Trump Would Almost Certainly Be Violating the Constitution If He Continues to Own His Businesses
- Remembering Pearl Harbor Brings ‘Date Which Will Live in Infamy’ to Virtual Reality
- Will Trump back women’s museum?
- New scholarship coming to Mormon lessons, but will instructors really teach it?
- Why the history of slavery in the US South is taking centre stage once again
- Novelist says History classes are our best hope for teaching Americans to question fake news and Donald Trump
- National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi is youngest in 30 years in the non-fiction category
- Historian Volker Ullrich’s book on the rise of Hitler is spookily relevant
- People are still talking about historian Mark Lilla’s NYT op ed 2 weeks after it was published
- Rick Perlstein says Trump’s election confirms a paranoid trend in the GOP