May 04, 2013

Another 'Major Mental Disease'

Orwell used the phrase to describe a "thinker" whose modus operandi was to...oh right, this is the Internet, so I'll copy, paste, and link:
It will be seen that at each point Burnham is predicting a continuation of the thing that is happening. Now the tendency to do this is not simply a bad habit, like inaccuracy or exaggeration, which one can correct by taking thought. It is a major mental disease, and its roots lie partly in cowardice and partly in the worship of power, which is not fully separable from cowardice.

So I'd like to propose another one.  This one happens when you're discussing something, like, say, macroeconomic policy, and (when losing) go "yeah, but he was gay."  That happened just now.  Twice.

There is no there there.  These guys have lost, badly, the argument about future generations.  Krugman re-re-re-addresses the substantive material here.  He is right, they are wrong.  But nevermind because Keynes = gay.

In our civilized society, these people are still employed and even "eminent".  People pay to go to Harvard to learn from them.  Can anyone tell me why?

On a more positive note, Krugman (appropriately) says some kind things about Rogoff here.


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