So I calls my pops this evening (well evening for me and afternoon for him) and we get to chatting about politics in general and specifically about economic policy. Being originally from the US and being a well read individual he routinely reads Paul’s op eds in the New York times.
I stopped calling my dad for awhile because the cell phone long distance rates were high and we always wasted 30 minutes on Krugman. To be honest Krugman pisses me off more than he pisses me on (if that makes any sense) and the notion that I should spend 60 cents a minute talking about the man every time I called my dad is untenable (18$!!). And there was no way out of it because my dad also subscribes to the New York Review of our Friends Books. Incidentally, and on that last point, for a couple of Christmases my dad bought me a subscription to the NYRB in which I was to be grateful for a constant drip of Paul’s POV. When I finally got a job one of the first things I told my dad is please do not buy me another sub to the NYRB I have departmental funds and can buy a sub. I did not.
Nonetheless because of Paul’s gig with the NYT I am constantly preparing for another go around, at 60 cents a minute, on the greatness and weakness of Paul Krugman. Don’t get me wrong Paul seems cool enough and he would have fit right in around the family dinner table with his toxic brand of optimism and cynically naive take on the world.
Tonight was interesting in the above regards. I called my dad and inevitably the conversation turned to Krugman. Actually I initiated it and I think it started with the mild preface WINTHFHISGOWTFDBPK. I thought it was a harsh but fair opening position to take. My dad demanded WITFHRUTA? I responded how long can he lean on the same saw: they won’t listen to me, they won’t hire me, I have no voice, I am peripheral to the conversation. To which I continued if he would just ask the question why.
Then my pops responds but he has and it is a disgrace. It is a though he thinks that people in positions of power are just suckers or slaves to conventional wisdom.
Like a …you fill in the simile. Precisely I says. It is like a conversation with an old school Marxist who rebuffs every question about a query over the dis-juncture between the revolutionary interests of the working class and their actual choices with a demure to false conciousness.
My dad responds it is like PK thinks there is no material reason for the elites to think as they do, they are merely sheep being herded by conventional wisdom.
Then the conversation then broke into some esoteric conversation over fallacies of composition and rationality at the level of the individual owner of capital and the consequences of deriving policy there from. Which is PK’s point. Save for the incredibly obvious point that what the individual capitalist now knows (those that count in national accounts) is that the state will, when necessary, rob from the relatively poor to backstop the rich so they really do not have to care about aggregation errors.
My dad is a smart guy!