Thursday, August 25, 2005

Your New Potions Instructor

First-year econ is one of the most-taught undergraduate courses in the country. The current most-favored textbook for it was published in 1997 and, according to this article, it is due to be replaced. Whichever book claims that job will make tens of millions of dollars. Two prominent economists have written books that aspire to the mantle.

One of them is Paul Krugman. Yes, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. That Paul Krugman. This Paul Krugman:

But the vitriol also reflects the fact that many of the people at the Republican National Convention, for all their flag-waving, hate America. They want a controlled, monolithic society; they fear and loathe our nation's freedom, diversity and complexity.


Can we break the machine that is imposing right-wing radicalism on the United States? The scariest part is that the media is part of that machine.


The fundamental fact of American politics - and I've sharpened my view on this since last year and the hardcover edition of the book - is that we've got an alliance between the religious right and the accumulators of great wealth. Those are the people who are running things.

The other author is Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia University's business school, a key architect of the controversial Bush administration tax cuts.

I told Hubbard that Krugman's publisher has shot promotional videos of a kinder, gentler Krugman discussing elementary economics with a civility far removed from his fire-breathing op-ed persona. Again, Hubbard chuckled: "Well, I only have one personality to offer the public."

Krugman's editor insists, "There is no political agenda in Paul's book. He uses his column for influence, but his textbook for education." He says its main purpose is to "reach a whole generation of students."

Ah, but think of the clout, the dark power, that would adhere to the political Krugman if he gets this jewel in his crown.