Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm enjoying...

the tributes to new Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman from libertarian and libertarianish economists. Some sharply distinguish the pre-NYT real economics Krugman did from the post-NYT public commentary. Others count Krugman's ability to explain things to a lay audience as one of his virtues-- which is of course appropriate given that they remember it as one of Milton Friedman's virtues, too.

See: Arnold Kling, Bryan Caplan, Alex Tabarrok, and of course Tyler Cowen. Note that the plaudits for Krugman's new trade theory/ economic geography contributions themselves have to be based on a genuine admiration for their intellectual importance, since those contributions were traditionally taken as being unfriendly to free trade, insofar as they showed at least the theoretical possibility of productivity-enhancing protectionism. (Krugman understands the difference between that possibility result and any likelihood that actually-adopted protectionism would be of the right sort.)