Yesterday, the world was given a treat. Bloomberg TV pit the Nobel-prize winning establishment shill Paul Krugman against the intellectual heavyweight and presidential candidate Ron Paul. Half of the debate was painful to watch; I assume I don’t need to say which half.
- Paul Krugman being completely unable to understand that while he tries to play off Ron Paul for trying to pretend we are living 150 years in the past, Krugman is advocating the exact policies that brought down the Roman Empire. (Ron Paul totally took that one straight out of Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action. Doesn’t he know that book is, like, 70 years old?!)
RP: “Professor Krugman indicates we just want to go back 100 years or so. That’s not exactly true. We want to improve on what life was like back then. But he wants to go back 1,000 years or 2,000 years just as the Romans and the Greeks and all other countries debased their currency. They didn’t have a computer. This idea that we need a Federal Reserve to run things or a central bank — that is just a modern times.
What did the Romans do to their currency? The Byzantine Empire had a gold standard for a thousand years and they did quite well and they didn’t fight wars. But the Roman empire eventually destroyed their currency. They put in wage and price controls before they diluted the metals. They inflated. They thought wealth could come by fooling the people. Who would want today – if they had 10 years to send their kid to college, would they put their money in gold coins or a Treasury bill making 1% or 2%? They can’t keep up with the inflation or the devaluation of the currency.”
PK: “I’m not a defender of the economic policies of the Emperor Diocletion, let’s make that clear.” (YES YOU ARE!)
Also, this wasn’t mentioned, but the thirteenth century policies of Gaikhatu Khan were hardly different from what Krugman calls for either.
- Paul Krugman being completely unable to comprehend competing currencies.
PK: “You can do barter with all kinds of stuff.”
- Paul Krugman being completely unable to comprehend how the Federal Reserve is a counterfeiting organization.
RP: “If a private company commits fraud, they go to jail. If the Federal Reserve commits fraud, they get nothing…. If you had a private issue of money and you committed a fraud, you would go to jail. But, no, governments can debase the currency and injure a lot of people and cause the business cycle and cause inflation and cause unemployment and get off scot-free.”
PK: “I have been pretty harsh on Ben Bernanke, but fraud is not one of the things I would charge him with.”
RP: “You want him to print more money faster.”
PK: “Well, of course I do.”
In the end, it was like watching Muhammad Ali box an infant. Economic reality is much too difficult to see from way up in that Ivory Tower. As always, Ron Paul patiently picks apart the economic fallacies of his foes and calmly advocates more sound economic policy (or rather, lack of policy), while his opponent scurries around him flailing his hands without making a real argument. One day maybe we’ll get to see Robert Murphy finally knock some business cycle sense into Krugman. This particular scuffle with Ron Paul was plenty entertaining, though. Someone out there watching is bound to pick up on Dr. Paul’s message.
Oh, and after the debate, Bloomberg TV did not fail to ask the obligatory “When are you going to drop out?” that every media outlet has been throwing at him since forever.
The debate in a nutshell:
(Yes, I know Paul Krugman got the Nobel Prize for his New Trade Theory and not what he is talking about here, but he deserves to be endlessly taunted for touting his nonsensical monetary policies that he gets all his attention for anyway.)