Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Real Americans and Real Economics

Paul Krugman, NYT
August 25, 2014 4:53 pm

Maybe I’m deluding myself, but it seems to me that we’re not hearing as much as we used to about “real Americans” — the notion that the true essence of the nation is white people living in small towns, associated these days with Sarah Palin but also invoked by whatshisname, the guy who lived in the White House between Clinton and Obama and misled us into war. But I’m sure that’s still how a lot of people on the right see it.

What made me think about that concept is something sort of parallel I’ve noticed about the reaction to my writings. Often, I find, the most rage-filled emails and voice mails come after I’ve written something fairly economistic, like today’s piece. And typically, part of the rant is something along the lines of “You call yourself an economist?” You see, the person delivering the rant has a notion of what economics is; he (it’s almost always a he) believes that “real economics” is about singing the praises of free markets — basically Capitalism Roolz. It’s inconceivable to him that you could have a more nuanced view without being a Marxist. And he’s outraged both that I have the temerity to claim that I’m doing economics and that other people seem to take me seriously.

And it’s not just random Tea Partiers who think this way. It includes hosts of TV business shows, and some famous economists too.

(More here.)

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