In case you needed to intellectualize your disagreement with Paul Krugman …

… and I’m not saying you do, nor should. After all, Krugman disagrees with Krugman, frequently, and doesn’t seem to suffer a crisis of intellectual confidence about it. Nevertheless, Eli Dourado here offers a belabored justification for differing with Krugman, intellectual giant though he is. A snippet:

… It seems natural to conclude, given these facts, that if Krugman and I disagree, the fault lies with me. After all, he is much smarter than I am, so shouldn’t I converge much more to his view than he does to mine?

Not necessarily. One problem is that if I change my belief to match Krugman’s, I would still disagree with a lot of really smart people, including many people as smart as or possibly even smarter than Krugman. …

Don’t worry; the answer isn’t nearly as pat as that. There follows a jaunt through “disagreement theory” and such terms as self-favoring priors, truth seekers, and meta-rationality. A reader could be forgiven for thinking that the approach is to apply novel labels to intuitive concepts so as to make them acceptable to just those sorts of intellectuals who would be cowed by a fellow human being’s measured and presumed intellectual prowess, as if its mere existence prevents human error and wards off human fallibility (or isn’t being used by said genius intentionally to mislead).

Actually, my main interest in passing this article along is this anecdote, which is in line with my link above under “Krugman disagrees with Krugman, frequently”:

Another recent example comes from Krugman’s hasty dismissal of Miles Kimball, who argued more narrowly that Krugman’s advice to Italy in particular to spend more was misguided. Krugman’s response, in full, was that the paper that Kimball cited, by Reinhart, Reinhart, and Rogoff, did not constitute conclusive proof that high debt levels were bad for growth. I happen to agree in general about that paper, but, as Noah Smith pointed out, Krugman himself had argued a mere three days earlier that Eurozone countries, because they do not control their own currencies, do need to be concerned about their levels of debt. In case you need reminding, Italy is a Eurozone country.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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