Bryan Caplan  

Sympathy for the Nobelist

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Scott Sumner eloquently stretches the limits of our empathy:
[A]s you become better known, you don't seem to have any more influence than before.  I used to wonder why Krugman always seemed to downplay his influence.  He's got the best blogging gig in the world, at the NYT.  He might be the favorite economist of the Democrats who now run Washington.  He's got his Nobel Prize.  He must feel like he's on top of the world, the James Cameron of blogging.  But as the Chinese like to say, "Desire is a valley that can never be filled."  You always want more influence.  I can now see how Krugman would be frustrated that no one paid attention to his argument that we needed more stimulus.  So imagine how un-influential I feel, despite my minor success this year.
Which reminds me of my favorite symbolic academic victory: Quoting Denethor's suicide oration from LOTR in Rationality and Society.
"I would have things as they were in the days of my life," answered Denethor, "and in the days of my long-fathers before me: to be the Lord of this City in peace, and leave my chair to a son after me, who would be his own master and no wizard's pupil. But if doom denies this to me, then I will have naught: neither life diminished, nor love halved, nor honour abated."


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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Daniel Kuehn writes:

That's what you consider empathetic?

He's suggesting that Krugman is concerned about his own influence rather than being concerned about how many families are going to suffer as a result of the bungled response to the recession.

Where I come from, that's not "empathy" - that's called an insult.

Tom writes:

Krugman is more influential than he knows. For ever person who values what he says, there is 1+ who run the other way. Maybe persuasive is more like what he's looking for.

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