Krugman on Libertarianism

I was going to write a long post on Krugman's article, but Michael Cannon takes care of it with one sentance:

Paul Krugman says libertarianism is not a serious political philosophy because politicians are corruptible, do stupid things, et cetera.  My colleagues Aaron Powell and David Boaz demonstrate why that's a bigger problem for Krugman than for libertarians: Krugman's statism wouldn't make politicians any less ignorant or corruptible, it would just give those ignorant and corruptible politicians more power.

By the way, I thought this earlier article by Brett Barkley was pretty interesting.  He investigated which economists changed their views the most based on who occupied the White House.  Want to lay any bets on who won the title of most politicized economist?

When the White House changes party, do economists change their tune on budget deficits? Brett Barkley does a systematic investigation. Six economists are found to change their tune "“ Paul Krugman in a significant way, Alan Blinder in a moderate way, and Martin Feldstein, Murray Weidenbaum, Paul Samuelson, and Robert Solow in a minor way "“ while eleven are found to be fairly consistent.

  • Chris

    Read the comments to the original Krugman post. They are so frustrating! They don't get it either. It's essentially: "preach on, Brother Krugman!"

    Let's see, politicians are ignorant and corruptible, therefore we need more politicians (or, at least, more powerful ones). How on earth does this make sense to anybody?

  • Dr. T

    Apparently, Paul Krugman, former economist, believes in a diluting effect for politicians.

    Libertarians want minimal governments and few politicians. A twenty-percent corruption rate of politicians would greatly reduce the effectiveness of small libertarian governments.

    A progressive, liberal, left-wing, socialistic nanny state (the ideal envisioned by Krugman and his cronies) will have tens of thousands of politicians comprising massive (but inefficient) governments. A twenty-percent corruption rate of politicians would have negligible effects on governance, because national, state, and local governments already would have attained near-maximal ineffectiveness.

    Using these premises, Krugman is correct: libertarian governments would suffer more harm from political corruption than nanny state governments. What he fails to mention is that a corruption-weakened libertarian government still would be more efficient than an uncorrupted nanny state government.

  • Dr. T

    Apparently, Paul Krugman, former economist, believes in a diluting effect for politicians.

    Libertarians want minimal governments and few politicians. A twenty-percent corruption rate of politicians would significantly reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of small libertarian governments.

    A progressive, liberal, left-wing, socialistic nanny state (the ideal envisioned by Krugman and his cronies) will have tens of thousands of politicians comprising massive (but inefficient) governments. A twenty-percent corruption rate of politicians would have negligible effects on governance, because national, state, and local governments already would have attained near-maximal ineffectiveness and inefficiency.

    Using these premises, Krugman is correct: libertarian governments would suffer more harm from political corruption than nanny state governments. What he fails to mention is that a corruption-weakened libertarian government still would be more effective and efficient than an uncorrupted nanny state government.

  • Ian Random

    Libertarians believe in competition everywhere except in foreign policy. Which is what finally turned me into a libertarianesque Republican.

  • GaryP

    Libertarians seem to me, to believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The govt's responsibilities end when these conditions are in place. Tough love for citizens. We need that and it is coming. Saw this in the WSJ (my comments other than the text of the note) this morning. The jig is up in UK and soon will be here.

    The new Chief Secretary to the Treasury (UK), (Lib Dem's David Laws) upon arriving for his first days work, found a note on his desk from his predecessor (Labour's Liam Byrne).
    "Dear Chief Secretary, I'm afraid there is no money. Kind regards and good luck! Liam."
    Mr. Laws had opposed spending cuts during the election but seems to rethinking that position. Wonder why?
    Will such an honest assessment of the situation ever be put on paper in the US? I doubt it.

  • Another guy named Dan

    Simple formulation:
    Conservatives distrust Big Government, Liberals distrust Big Corporations, Libertarians distrust Big Anything.

    It amazes me that some of the same people who hold that all of the worlds problems are the result of big multi-national corporations hold that the solution is big, multinational government, as though simply by collecting a pay check from a government organization makes people wiser, smarter, and more virtuous.

  • the other coyote

    My father, who turned out to be smarter than I thought, used to say if the electorate would just refuse to let the government have any of their money, the government can't waste it or screw as much up. He didn't care whether they wanted to fight like seventh-grade girls amongst themselves, but as long as they weren't taking our money, they couldn't have big staffs and big programs, and at the end of the day they weren't hurting anybody but themselves.

    I'd take it a step further. Let's all agree, left and right, east and west, that nobody wants anybody else's guy in power. Govern yourselves locally as you see fit, but don't use anybody's money but your own. I'd be real interested to see how long California's welfare state would last without Texas' money, but at least the Calis would get what they asked for (and thus deserve).