Sunday, January 11, 2015

Paul Krugman vs. Walter Block and Economic Influence

Paul Krugman is out with a post championing himself as a great influence in economic thought. He writes:
 I think if you were going to name the two current econoheroes of U.S. liberals they would probably be Joe Stiglitz and yours truly. (Thomas Piketty has made a huge and well-deserved splash, but so far only on one issue.) The thing that is obvious about Joe is that before becoming a public figure with a political following he established his reputation with vast amounts of widely cited academic research; you can get a sense of what he did by looking at his top entries on Google Scholar. And here are mine.
The "J. Stiglitz" search that Krugman links to has  4,170 results. The "P. Krugman" search has 3,820 results.

He then reaches the conclusion that "The right lacks heavyweight economists with independent reputations." He, naturally, ignores Austrian school economists. But when modern day Austrians are considered, they are right up there with Stiglitz and Krugman. Search "W. Block" in Google scholar and one gets  pretty much the same results as one does for Krugman 3,720 vs 3,820, respectively. (Note: It is also possible that the Austrian economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe's search results are as significant, but a search for "H. Hoppe"pulls up more than one "H. Hoppe").

But bottom line: With Walter Block having none of the establishment sponsorship of Krugman, one might even say distorted negative coverage from the establishment, Dr. Block is up there toe-to-toe with the self-proclaimed "great influencer" Krugman.

It should also be noted that Krugman's most popular book according to Amazon is The Conscience of a Liberal. It is ranked #106,456 in sales. Block beats this.

Block has The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors  as his best seller ranked at  #91,375 in sales, with his Defending the Undefendable ranked at  #148,852., beating out Krugman's second most popular book, End This Depression Now!, which is ranked at #262,991.

Hans Hoppe's From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy: A Tale of Moral and Economic Folly and Decay comes in at #145,060. and is ranked at #28,872 in the Kindle edition, compared to Krugman's best seller in Kindle,  End This Depression Now!, ranked at only #98,227.


  1. Krugman is engaging in blatant confirmation bias yet would castigate others for being methodologically and empirically unsound. Apparently he never learned that empirical propositions are tested by seeking to disprove them.

  2. And the Mises institute offers Walter block's work for free ( as e-books), so the amazon numbers underestimate his influence greatly

  3. I thought that being an academic was about the pursuit of truth? How can one pursue the truth when they admittedly are searching for it through deliberately shaded lenses? When you boil his argument down, its really who has produced the most economic propaganda, the left or the right. In his view, the left has, and I would tend to agree with that.

  4. Since Krugman is spouting off about Ukraine while apparently oblivious to a) the US coup, b) the Nazi involvement and c) the slaughter of Russian speakers in the east by the new government, how does he have any reputation left? Lefty Robert Parry notes his idiocy on Ukraine:

  5. I learned from Henry Hazlitt in 1974 that the folks who get the new funny money first are stealing purchasing power from the less connected. The brilliant thinker Joseph Stiglitz believes he's the first person to notice this phenomenon in his critique of Piketty:

    “But this lending has not gone for creating new business, not for capital goods. Disproportionately it has gone to increase the value of land and other fixed resources (buildings, real estate, etc). And that’s what everybody was worried about. So in that sense, in that discussion that occurred with quantitative easing—NOBODY LINKED THAT WITH INEQUALITY….”

  6. Krugman thinks readers of Block and Hoppe are irrelevant. This is how you build an empire. You influence a group of people and declare everyone else irrelevant. King of like this guy who bought an island and declared himself it's prince:

  7. Krugman is an imbecile.