Paul Krugman wants to be our savior. Moreover, he wants to be a specific kind of savior: a magus of the scientific age, a blackboard prophet.
The roots of this curious ambition can be seen in his recent profile in Newsweek:
Krugman says he found himself in the science fiction of Isaac Asimov, especially the "Foundation" series "It was nerds saving civilization, quants who had a theory of society, people writing equations on a blackboard, saying, 'See, unless you follow this formula, the empire will fail and be followed by a thousand years of barbarism.'"
Now here we are at an economic zero hour for the American empire, and perhaps for modern civilization itself, and many in the global urban elite think this establishment triathlete with his Princeton professorship, his New York Times column, and his Nobel Prize, has the equation for salvation. So what is Krugman's formula? What commandments does the magus have scrawled on his blackboard for us, his plebian flock?
To understand that, one must understand Krugman's intellectual heritage, such as it is.
Paul Krugman is a devotee of John Maynard Keynes. He's such a hard core disciple that he was Keyensian when Keynesianism wasn't cool: the period between the 1970s stagflation, which seemed to disprove Keynesian doctrine, and now, when it is groundlessly renascent due to our society's stunted memory span. He himself proudly admits his devotion to Keynes. He has written such headlines as "The Greatness of Keynes" and "Why Aren't We All Keynesians Yet?" But what does it mean to be keen on Keynes? What diagnosis does Krugman's Keynesian economics have for the economic crisis, and what remedies does he prescribe?
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