Re: [OPE] Paul Kruman, "The Theory of Interstellar Trade"

From: Gerald Levy <>
Date: Tue Oct 14 2008 - 06:13:48 EDT

Yes, Michael W, I agree: awarding Krugman the Nobel is a joke.

There is humor in the article, but does that make it a joke? He says
simply that he wrote it "to cheer myself" when he was an "oppressed
assistant professor caught in the academic rat race".

But, note well! - this paper is in the _exact same field_ as that cited
by the Bank of Sweden committee when they awarded him the
Prize. More than that, it even has _the same point and tackles
basically the same issues_ as his great "contribution" to economic
theory! So, is it his extension of free trade theory into the real of
economic geography any different conceptually than his theory
of interstellar trade? The _joke_ is that his contribution mirrored
his tongue-in-cheek article _and_ that he was then awarded the Nobel!
The _joke_ is that something this absurd could be taken as a
theoretical advance. The joke is conceiving of advancing "free trade
theory" as an intellectual advance when free trade is simply
bourgeois ideology. An additional chuckle can be found that while
Krugman - who was awarded the prize - made his 'contribution'
there were other, serious heterodox scholars who advanced
our understanding of trade but haven't gotten any prizes because they
weren't mainstream economists. Lots of laughter all around!

In solidarity, Jerry

  It's a joke, Jerry, it's a joke, with, incidentally a few side swipes at the weaknesses of 'modelling without theory'.


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