Monday, December 8, 2014

Deftly Decapitating Krugman

From the New York Sun:

One of America’s greatest editorial writers, Jack Fuller, when he was editing the Tribune, used to advise writers to try to attack so deftly that their target doesn’t know he’s been decapitated until he tries to walk away. He was speaking figuratively, which we note because of the rough-and-tumble nature of Chicago newspapering. It’s going to be something, in any event, to see Paul Krugman try to walk away from the latest sally by the Wall Street Journal. He may stagger around for a while, but eventually he’ll topple.

The Journal dealt with him in an editorial debunking “Peak Oil.” It began by noting that it’s been “216 years since Thomas Malthus gave birth to the idea that mankind’s appetite for natural resources would outstrip nature’s capacity to supply them. There have since been regular warnings that the world is running out of soybeans, helium, chocolate, tungsten, you name it—and that population growth has become unsustainable. The warnings create a political or social panic for a while, only to be proved wrong.”

Then it turned to “peak oil,” the notion that we are entering “an era of permanent fossil fuels scarcity.” It sketched the collapsing prices, the “explosive” growth of American production, the emergence of fracking. Then it flashed the spadroon. It is worth remembering, the Journal said, “how spectacularly wrong some recent predictions of doom turned out to be.” It noted this was like shooting fish in a barrel, but the tetraodontidae it punctured was Mr. Krugman

It turns out, the Journal noted, that in December 2010 Mr. Krugman had announced that “peak oil has arrived.”

Read the rest here.

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