Words That Shouldn't Be Used in a Sentence: Paul Krugman in Playboy!

Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is in the current issue of Playboy, talking about everything you can imagine.

If nothing else, this interview is the end of the idea that some people read Playboy for the articles.

Snippets:

KRUGMAN: I was pretty much listening to the golden oldies station with 1960s and 1970s music, Fleetwood Mac being about as modern as I got. And then for some reason after Arcade Fire won the Grammys, I said, “Gee, what is this?” I was shocked. Oh my God, there’s music being made now that is really good. It didn’t all go away around the time I turned 35. And so that opened me up a lot. Arcade Fire is just the one that provides the most solace. It’s gorgeous stuff.

PLAYBOY: You like Feist too.

KRUGMAN: Feist. The New Pornographers are probably technically better than Arcade Fire. But what the hell? It’s all good.

PLAYBOY: It sounds like it gives you some hope and uplift.

KRUGMAN: Yeah. And to be honest, I have a crush on the women in Arcade Fire.

Hmm, Krugman's good at math, so take it seriously when he notes that one band is "probably technically better" than another. Such a nuanced insight.

The material doesn't get a lot more cogent when he turns to his area of expertise:

The fact is the Great Depression ended largely thanks to a guy named Adolf Hitler. He created a human catastrophe, which also led to a lot of government spending. As you know, I’m famous for worrying about space aliens. It looks like it has to be some forcing event. Obviously you don’t operate on that basis, so what people like me will do is keep hammering on this stuff and hopefully it will eventually break through. The safety net has been enough to avoid mass suffering, to muffle it. People are exhausting their savings. 

Krugman is never slow to push a variation on the broken-windows fallacy. Indeed, just a few days after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, he wrote a Times op-ed reminding Americans of the upside to the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks:

Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack -- like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression -- could even do some economic good....Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I've already indicated, the destruction isn't big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

Thank gawd for small catastrophes. In the Playboy interview, Krugman waxes characteristically about how great the threat of an alien invasion would be, as it would create lickety-split a full-employment plan for all humanity. But alas, he sighs, we can't even get a new Hudson River tunnel built because we don't invest in infrastructure and education. As if massive increases in government spending haven't been happening lo these past few centuries. Between 2000 and 2010 alone at the federal level, spending increased something like 60 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2001 and 2010.

As a point of fact, it's wrong - and popular - to argue, as Krugman does, that World War II ushered in a brave new world of economic boom times. Listen to the interview we did with George Mason economist Russell Roberts (who also co-authored the great Keynes-Hayek rap videos). As Roberts notes, "war spending takes real resources out of the economy" and the idea that a world of nearly universal male conscription and rationed goods is a prosperous one requires a suspension of disbelief few can muster. And, stresses Roberts, the U.S. economy actually took off in a big way in the later 1940s when government spending shrank dramatically and Keynesians cried of impending disaster.

The most interesting parts of the interview are when Krugman, that consumate maverick punk, derides Obama as "establishment" and when he veers oh-so-close to opening up his critique of all that went wrong to include state actions. Consider:

If you’re asking why people were buying those houses, it’s because the money was being made available. Why was the money being made available? You had a whole machine making it seem as if dicey loans were actually safe, and a fair bit of predatory stuff was also going on. People were being pushed into mortgages they were told they could afford because they didn’t understand the fine print. Of course there was the slicing and dicing and tranching and making subprime toxic waste appear as triple-A bonds.

"The money was being made available..." Indeed, and by whom? What pray tell was the role of government housing policy, government-sponsored enterprises, and the Federal Reserve? Krugman walks right up to the edge and then veers away quickly into blather about deregulation and whatnot.

Read the whole thing - or just look at the pictures - here.

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  • Krugman's Cat||

    Meow!

  • sarcasmic||

    Pussy.

  • Local Wit||

    What's "Playboy?"

  • Anonymous Coward||

    A magazine read by inmates and people too stupid to use the internet.

  • Rhet Orical||

    "Use" the internet for what?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    For what God intended the internet to be used for.

    Fapping.

  • Local Wit||

    I thought that's what God made H&R for.

  • ||

    For what God intended the internet to be used for.

    I thought that's what God made H&R for.

    H&R is a creation of god while the internet is an emergent phenomenon formed from the seed of the universe's creation....as god "intended".

    Not only does this prove both statements correct it proves that the Deists and believers of a participant god both simultaneously correct and wrong.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Its that dumb looking and sounding guy from the New York Times.

  • Tony||

    You guys really had me excited there for a second. Stupid redneck Libertarians.

  • Sudden||

    A+ spoofage. Worthy of consideration for threadwinning spoof of the year.

  • ||

    The best thing about Krugman is his lack of self-awareness regarding what a caricature he is. He could be turned into a running economist character on a sketch show with very few modifications to his lines or presentation. Awesome

  • ||

    Some good carpet bombing is just what we need to get this economy turned around.

  • sarcasmic||

    Destroying wealth makes us richer!

  • ||

    I'm surprised he doesn't advocate a first strike. . .on the U.S. The clean up and rebuilding would stimulate the economy!

  • ||

    He really has

    Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack -- like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression -- could even do some economic good....Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I've already indicated, the destruction isn't big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

    He just didn't know Iran was a possible source of all of this new growth.

  • ||

    Ye gods.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Looks like Krugnuts failed to study up on the Broken Window fallacy.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Eeeeewwww.

  • ||

    You know, Princeton did a study that found incompetent people and assholes don't know that they are.

  • Abdul||

    Being in New Jersey, they certainly had a great sample population to study.

  • KDN||

    You'd be an asshole too if you had to spend 5 days in New York or Philadelphia.

  • KDN||

    *5 days a week

  • You were||

    right the first time.

  • RoboCain||

    So let's start a war with Sweden for giving him that stupid prize.

  • ||

    Hey, Krugman is complete tool as a pundit and his expertise in economics is so narrow as to be irrelevant, but if Playboy will have him in their magazine it must mean only one thing: he's got nice tits!

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Playboy endorses Newt Gingrich and his moobs.

  • ||

    a world of nearly universal male conscription and rationed goods is a prosperous one

    Hey, Pauly Krugnuts wouldn't have to fight, so where's the downside for him? Bombs away!

  • ||

    If he thinks a world with "rationed goods" is "propserous", then one of those terms doesn't mean what he thinks it does.

    I would have said that a sure sign that your economy isn't prospering is when you have to ration stuff.

  • sarcasmic||

    Rationing means everyone gets the same amount.

    Equality is all that matters.

  • ||

    "Fleetwood Mac being about as modern as I got..."

    There's your problem right there.

  • ||

    DON'T TALK SHIT ABOUT TOTAL MICK FLEETWOOD

  • ||

    Leave Mick Fleetwood alone. The original Fleetwood Mac was the best British blues band of them all. Yes, Cream, I am talking about you. Peter Green man. Peter Green.

  • ||

    Stop it. Just stop it. Cream ruled. You can hate Clapton all you want, but you're in fatal error when it comes to Cream.

  • ||

    Cream was good. But Fleetwood Mac was better. Listen to Live at the Boston Tea Party sometime. Cream never sounded that good.

  • ||

    Somehow, I believe Krugman's reference point for Fleetwood Mac begins and ends with Rumours - not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Krugman's favorite album is Tusk. ::shudders::

  • sarcasmic||

    Don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to.

  • Spanky||

    +1

    Peter Green was awesome. The tone! It's a damn shame he lost his shit.

  • ||

    The slide guitar on Showbiz Blues is just amazing. It is a total shame he went crazy.

  • sarcasmic||

    It is a total shame he went crazy.

    Copious quantities of acid sure didn't help.

  • ||

    His solo albums are just amazing.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Sorry, early Zeppelin i.e. Zeppelin I-III was the best British blues band of them all.

  • ||

    Hard to argue with that.

  • ||

    Not even close. I like Zeppelin. But they didn't swing. They had their own heavy beat that was good. But it wasn't blues. Too heavy.

  • sarcasmic||

    Led Zeppelin was up tempo classic blues, with distortion and a white singer.

  • ||

    My problem with Zep: Robert Plant

    Please, just shut that pie hole for a few minutes. Not every bar of music needs your yodeling.

  • ||

    So much this.

  • Sudden||

    Robert Plant shares a birthday with myself and Ron Paul, so you'll learn to fucking like it or else.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'll drink to that!

  • Sudden||

    Not to mention Dimebag Darrell and H.P. Lovecraft.

    8/20 fucking owns

  • Sudden||

    Admittedly, we also got stuck with Fred Durst and Slobodan Milosevic. I guess you can't win em all.

  • sarcasmic||

    drink!

  • Destrudo||

    Krugymandias.

  • ||

    Not bad.

  • squarooticus||

    Does this dumbass actually believe the broken windows fallacy so directly? I could understand if he didn't make the connection but he seems to actually state that digging holes and then filling them back in, resulting in no actual net increase in wealth, is somehow good.

    Economic activity in and of itself is not good: economic activity is merely work, and work is a *cost*, not a benefit. It's the resulting increase in overall wealth that is good.

  • Matrix||

    It's the effort that counts, not the value thereof.

  • PTA President||

    Everybody get a trophy!!1!!1!!1!!

  • rhofulster||

    I'm looking forward to the markets in the middle east opening up after Isreal starts a war which obliterates the middle east's industrial base - you know, just like after WWII!

  • rhofulster||

    I think I owe H Man (11:37) a coke.

  • H man||

    diet coke please. Thanks

  • Sudden||

    I think I owe H Man (11:37) a line of coke.

    FIFY, or more accurately for HMan.

  • Joe M||

    Krugman: Thanks, Hilter!

  • Joe M||

    How the fuck is this moron taken seriously? It's sickening.

  • sarcasmic||

    He says what people want to hear, which is that government can fix anything.
    Politicians want to hear that because it encourages them.
    The people want to hear that because it means they are not responsible.
    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay government!

  • ||

    Oh, great. Now I have to be embarrassed for liking the New Pornographers. Thanks a lot, Krugnuts.

  • ||

    Oh, great. Now I have to be embarrassed for liking the New Pornographers. Thanks a lot, Krugnuts.

    GODFUCKINGCOCKSUCKINGDAMNIT

    He really is why we can't have nice things.

  • tarran||

    It has been my observation, based on 20 years of being involved in various screw-ups and catastrophes, that whenever a person veers into the passive voice when writing about the incident, there's where the skullduggery occured. ;)

  • ||

    He's like Kennth Branugh's character in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, completely incompetent and similarly oblivious to his incompetence.

    Celebrity expert is a celebrity.

  • Sam Grove||

    Gilderoy Lockhart

  • ||

    Mistakes happened. Lives were lost. Love was made.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGG! AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGG!

    That is all.

  • H man||

    Here's our problem. We keep bombing places that are not our economic competitors. We need to start bombing Germany and Japan again and China now as well. After we destroy their factories everyone will have to buy from the U.S. what could possibly go wrong.

  • NotSure||

    The saddest thing about your joke is that there are plenty of people out there there really do think like that.

  • GW||

    Other than it's all outsourced to mexico, nothing.

  • Mike M.||

    By the way, that post Riggs put up a couple of nights ago about Mitt Romney going to Daytona? Krugman stole it and posted it on his own blog a few hours later. Without giving the attribution as to where he stole it from, naturally.

  • ||

    Stolen windows!

  • ||

    #4: There's no such thing as intellectual property.

  • If we didn't . . . ||

    imprison plagiarists, they'd just plagiarize all day sans consequence!

    What would we dooooooo without the government to enforce fairness????

  • ||

    "war spending takes real resources out of the economy"

    Yeah, but it increases government control over the economy, so the "authorities" like Krugabe can utilize their industrial policy super powers to best advantage.

    And then there are the spiffy uniforms!

  • NotSure||

    I read Playboy for the articles, I mean would want to wank off to some sexy blonde when one has got Paul Krugman instead.

  • Jerry||

    Playboy. Come for the smut, stay for the nut.

  • ||

    We just need to hire the Japanese to bomb Detroit.

  • ||

    Why? What difference would it make?

  • ||

    Your saying Detroit hasn't already been bombed? What the hell happened to it then?

  • ^ Funny Every Time!||

  • Red Rocks Rockin ||

    Feist. The New Pornographers are probably technically better than Arcade Fire. But what the hell? It’s all good.

    Jesus--it's always so pathetic watching someone in their middle age acting as if they're down with new shit in some lame attempt to get 20-somethings to like them.

    Paul, just admit you stopped listening to Top 40 after Blondie came on the scene. It would certainly be much more plausible than any of your economic theories.

  • ||

    I thought Arcade Fire was exciting and new - until a few plays later. Then I started thinking: large vision inhibited by limited musicianship.

  • CTAF||

    I like to play Wake Up while taking a dump. It makes me feel heroic.

  • ||

    I agree. They sound like a decent conglomeration of several 90s bands, but the sound they created launched a glut of strained-voiced sensitive post-emo-indie bands with E Street Band delusions of grandeur.

    Funeral was pretty good, but vastly overrated. Sadly, that's probably still one of the best albums from the past decade. Every decade before has dozens of better records than any of the very best albums of the last decade (Kid A, Funeral, Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, etc.) None of those albums are lifechangingly great/classic - they're just fairly enjoyable, consistent and interesting.

    Modern music just stinks. Too many neato gimmicks, effects and dance beats, not enough quality songwriting and musicianship.

  • ||

    And by the way, his "crush" on Regine Chassagne? LOL.

  • CTAF||

    She's exotic!

  • Bee Tagger||

    It's generally true that as soon as someone ventures beyond "I like them" when discussing a band they like, it's going to be super annoying. The greater number of adjectives, the greater the amount of vomit.

    But he certainly knows his adult contemporary hipster audience well, though.

    Full Disclosure: I like all 3 bands/artists he listed.

  • veemee sashimi||

  • Kilroy Washere||

    Krugman in a Taco Del Mar Commercial

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHwPLbBGI94

    My favorite line: "What Happened!?" Classic.

  • kilroy||

    I was never here.

  • ||

    Has anyone been there? One just opened near my house but I know nothing about it. Where does it stand in comparison to, say, Bell or Bueno?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    How about a live interview where Krugman has to remove an article of clothing every time he makes an error or a logical fallacy unworthy of a Nobel Prize winner?

  • ||

    Question for Krugnuts:

    If all we need to get the economy going again is a bunch of rebuilding projects, then why isn't Detroit the shining star of our economy?

  • Krug Man||

    That's an easy one, Dean. You see, even though the potential for economic stimulus exists in the form of the shit-hole that is Detroit, interest rates aren't low enough to induce business to invest.

    I suggest a three-pronged approach: have the Fed lower the interest rate to stimulate borrowing; engage in long-term deficit spending to foster infrastructure; and, on a personal level, make sure you break at least one of your own windows every day.

  • Tman||

    A whole interview with Pauly Krugnuts and I wonder how many times he was asked about Enron.

    Like how he said this "The people I condemn in my columns have ripped off millions, even billions. I'm not in their league. They are demagogues and robber barons. I am an entrepreneurial member of the affluent middle class..." - after accepting $50K to serve on the Enron advisory board.

  • ChrisO||

    If Krugnuts thinks your band is hip, it's probably time to find a new career.

  • Rhet Orical||

    "Krugnuts": funny hate-moniker or funniest hate-moniker?

  • Moniker Blewclinsky||

    Hey!

  • DK||

    Krugman's Law: Invoking Hitler to explain economic prosperity.

  • Inkstained Wretch||

    "Krugman waxes characteristically about how great the threat of an alien invasion would be ..."

    So, Paul Krugman is Ozymandias then? If he ever starts hanging around a naked blue guy, leave New York fast.

  • @AgoristDon||

    "KRUGMAN: Environmental regulations could actually be creating jobs right now, but people say, “Oh, that’s crazy. How could that be true? Regulations add to costs.” My answer is this: Does the story about the world that underlies what you guys are saying allow for what we see all around us? Do your theories explain nine percent unemployment and this monstrous economic collapse?"

    Yeah, as a matter of fact, they do. Austrian Business Cycle Theory predicted the Great Depression, it predicted the Krugman-named "Lesser Depression" that we're now experiencing, and the "policies" that the government applied in the Recession of 1920 proved that the policies applied in 29-41 and now are pure stupidity. Krugman is the one ignoring reality.

    The Great Depression of 1920?? - Yes, the one they don't talk about.

    http://tirelessagorist.blogspo.....-1920.html

  • ||

    Of course, this:

    Does the story about the world that underlies what you guys are saying allow for what we see all around us? Do your theories explain nine percent unemployment and this monstrous economic collapse?

    Is a complete non sequitur, as a response to this:

    Regulations add to costs.

  • Canman||

    You'd think either Krugman or the interveiwer would find the govt debts and deficits worth commenting on.

  • ||

    Or they would think to mention that multiple studies by pretty centrist organizations have come to the conclusion that spending beyond 20% of GDP hurts economic growth...and we are spending at close to 40%. (40% = state/local and federal)

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org.....ic-growth/

  • ||

    People were being pushed into mortgages they were told they could afford because they didn’t understand the fine print.

    Fine print like, "Monthly Payment: $______.00 every month"?

  • sub-prime borrower||

    EVERY month????!!!?!?!

  • ||

    Repetitive redundancies recur.

  • ||

    He likes Arcade Fire? It's official--the man has no taste.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Krugnuts only likes new music from countries with universal health care.

    Why doesn't he just move to Canada then? All the music and health care they can ration to him.

  • ||

    "Reason" is a very misleading name for your magazine. Hayek is some goofball goldfiend. You people are terrible.

  • DRINK!||

    DRINK!

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