Warmest congratulations to Paul Krugman on getting the Nobel prize. It was overdue (but then it usually is). I can't think of an economist who could match him at extracting deep insight from simple, ingeniously specified models--again and again, one thought, why did nobody else see this?--or whose forthcoming academic papers would arouse such excitement. He can be an irascible fellow. He often finds it hard to respect people he disagrees with. I think he is much too quick to accuse people of bad faith. But his detractors should not deceive themselves: he is a kind of genius.

As I've mused before, it was a significant loss to economics when he put scholarly work to one side to make himself the scourge of the Bush administration, not to mention an affront to the principle of comparative advantage. Economists of his quality are much harder to find than angry pundits, however effective, and serve a greater social purpose. An enlightened central planner would never have allowed it.

At least we can be sure that the prize won't go to Paul's head. As he pointed out a while back, the Nobel is a second-class award, conferring less distinction than the Clark medal. (Paul won that 16 years ago.)

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