Is Paul Krugman the Thumb of Bad Economics?

Paul KrugmanThis is funny. Moisés Naím over at The Atlantic wrote, Economists Still Think Economics Is the Best. It is about a new paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP), The Superiority of Economists. It seems that economists think very highly of themselves. They think they are the most “scientific” of the social sciences and they tend not to reference other social sciences in their academic work. Even worse, the disciplines that they do tend to align closely with are really not good: finance and business.

None of this should come as a surprise. Dean Baker has spent the last two decades pointing out what gas bags economists are. That’s one of the reasons he’s my favorite economist. But in the Naím article, the picture that went along with it was a smiling Paul Krugman. He was not pleased and responded with a brief post, I Am Not a Generic Economist. He pointed out that he had written favorably about the JEP paper, “I guess I hope that these things are outliers. But if you feel cynical about economics after reading Fourcade, you may be right.” He asked, “So how, exactly, do I become the face of bad economics here?”

Here is the Face of Bad Economics:

Face of Bad Economics: Paul Krugman

Well, I guess someone noticed that Krugman was a bit angry. Or maybe they noticed that Krugman is not even mentioned in the article. So today, they changed the image in a way that will doubtless please the Nobel Prize winning economist. Now the article not only doesn’t have his face — it doesn’t have anyone’s face. Now it has thumbs:

The Thumbs of Bad Economics

That looks like an image taken at the stock exchange. But could one of those thumbs be Paul Krugman’s? We’ll probably never know. I doubt he cares if The Atlantic wants to make him the thumb of bad economics.

Original image taken from

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