Thursday, 29 November 2012

Peter Schiff v. Paul Krugman

A Peter Schiff v. Paul Krugman match-up may be on the horizon. Throughout the last four years their exchanges have evolved from constructive professional criticism to quasi-vendetta. (Actually, they may not have ever been professional). Krugman, never timid to ruffle a few feathers, is periodically prone to deriding Schiff's take on economic theory and practice. Schiff, never a stranger to the stage, is perpetually primed for a mid-day show down. 

Last year, Schiff chided the Nobel laureate for "taking pot shots at a punching bag" and challenged to him to a real live duel -- or the closest thing to it in 21st century academia. Nevertheless, Professor Krugman took the, erm, high-road, determining a face-to-face smack down to be beneath his Nobel-feathered status. A disappointing decision to us prospective onlookers.

Today, Krugman's irascible side again surfaced, when he gave Schiff a shout out in his latest blog entry, "Varieties of Error". Schiff shot back on facebook: 

"Paul Krugman - Thanks for the shoutout. Now how about you stop hiding behind your keyboard and agree to debate me in public? At the very least, run my rebuttal on the Times' op/ed page. (They already have it.) "

We'll see if Krugman decides to get in the ring. It's unlike the heavyweight to stride through the ropes without reflection. Choosing one's battles wisely comprises half the victory. Schiff is an entertainer more than an economist. He's well versed, but doesn't always seem to understand the deeper meaning of the verses he recites. His points are a great springboard of academic discussion for burgeoning economists, but when it comes to rigorous analytical argumentation, Schiff tends to be on the cheeseclothy side. My hope is that Krugman doesn't get blustered by a bloviator. Whether or not Schiff is in Krugman's weight class, I care not. I want to see a showdown. The title-holder can only rebuff affronts so many times before his honor is questioned. 

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