Guest Post: Krugman’s Adventures In Fairyland

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by William L Anderson of The Ludwig von Mises Institute,

After studying and teaching Keynesian economics for 30 years, I conclude that the “sophisticated” Keynes­ians really do believe in magic and fairy dust. Lots of fairy dust. It may seem odd that this Aus­trian economist refers to fairies, but I got the term from Paul Krugman.

According to Krugman, too many people place false hopes in what he calls the “Confidence Fairy,” a creature created as a retort to economist Robert Higgs’s concept of “regime uncertainty.” Higgs coined that expression in a 1997 paper on the Great Depression in which he claimed that uncertainty caused by the policies of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was a major factor in the Great Depression being so very, very long.

Nonsense, writes Krugman. Investors are not waiting for governments to “get their financial houses in order” and protect private property. Instead, he claims, investors are waiting for governments to spend in order to create enough “aggregate demand” in the economy to bring about new investments and, one hopes, full employment.

According to Higgs, the “humor columnist for the New York Times, Paul Krugman, has recently taken to defending his vulgar Keynesianism against its critics by accusing them of making arguments that rely on the existence of a ‘confidence fairy.’ By this mockery,” Higgs says, “Krugman seeks to dismiss the critics as unscientific blockheads, in contrast to his own supreme status as a Nobel Prize-winning economic scientist.”

It seems, however, that Krugman and the Keynesians have manufactured some fairies of their own: the Debt Fairy and the Inflation Fairy. These two creatures may not carry bags of fairy dust, but they might as well, given that their “tools” of using government debt and printing money to “revitalize” the economy have the same scientific credibility.

Let us first examine the Debt Fairy. According to the Keynesians, the U.S. economy (as well as the economies of Europe and Japan) languishes in a “liquidity trap.” This is a condition in which interest rates are near-zero and people hoard money instead of spending it. Lowering interest rates obviously won’t spur more business borrowing, so it is up to the government to take advantage of the low rates and borrow (and borrow).

If governments issue enough debt, argue Debt Fairy True Believers, the econ­omy will gain “traction” as government spending, through the power of pixie dust, fuels a recovery. Governments spend, businesses magically gain confidence, and then they spend and invest. (At this point, we are apparently supposed to just overlook the fact that the Keynesians are saying that we need the Debt Fairy to resurrect the Keynesian version of the Confidence Fairy.)

The Inflation Fairy also plays an important role, according to Keynesians, for if bona fide inflation can take hold in the econ­omy and people watch their money lose value, then they will spend more of their savings. In turn, this destruction of savings will, through the power of Keynesian sorcery, revive the econ­omy. Thus inflation undermines what Keynesians call the “Para­dox of Thrift,” a theory that says if a lot of people withhold some present consumption in order to save for future con­sumption, the economy quickly will implode and ultimately will slip into a Liquidity Trap in which no one will spend anything.

These fairies can work their magic if (and only if) one condition exists: factors of production are homogeneous, which means that government spending will enable all lines of production simultaneously. The actual record of the boom-and-bust cycle, however, tells a different story. It seems that the Debt and Inflation Fairies enable booms along certain lines of production (such as housing during the past decade), but as everyone knows, the fairy dust lost its magical powers and the booms collapsed into recessions.

Austrians such as Mises and Rothbard have well under­stood what Keynesians do not: the structures of produc­tion within an economy are heterogeneous and can be distorted by government intervention through inflation and massive borrowing. Far from being creatures that can “save” an economy, the Debt Fairy and the Inflation Fairy are the architects of economic disaster.

Despite Keynesian protestations that the U.S. and European governments are engaged in “austerity,” the twin fairies are active on both continents. The fairy dust they are sprinkling on the economy, however, is more akin to sprinkling ricin on humans. In the end, the good fairies turn into witches.

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Burr's 2nd Shot's picture

Is Tinkeryellen the Debt Fairy, or is this another reference to Reggie's boyfriend?

carlin401's picture

Just potty talk by those with the power to post OP's.


Keep us away from AIPAC, BIS, or NSA running Bitcoin.


Talk about fairys and tinkerbell, I do agree there are some 'gay' freudian leanings coming indirectly from the OP gods.

Yellen or  Krugman don't have a fucking thing to do with 'fairy tales', that job is for fucking OBama and the MSM(ZH is every much a MSM as the MSM).

Krugman is the voice of reason coming from the NYT telling the liberal intellectuals the honest fucking truth.


Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is now to be very much of confusing... where in story is Krugman to break every bone in face? How else is spur on aggregate demand but to local employment of emergency physician and triage nurse...?

yogy999's picture

Like I said before, Your funny as hell Boris!! :-)

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

You are think hell is to be funny?!

NoDebt's picture

Well, we're not there yet, but I'm pretty sure I can see it from here.  

Not very humorous from my perspective.  From the perspective of a banker or politician.... probably hysterical.  "Can you believe they let us get away with this crap??" is what I imagine they giggle themselves to bed thinking every night.


TahoeBilly2012's picture

Which is why the "drug war" and that fake Isreali/American "war on terror" are such a great Kenynesian programs both...never end, lotsa targets! Start with brown skin types then move to "Tea Party" types...

carlin401's picture

Yeh that's right the RIGHT is AIPAC and they run the drug war, and then they go after tea-party?


Hmmmm why  would that be?

Probably to CULL out those in the 'right' that aren't BIG GUBMINT.


Like the recent KOCH "shutown", exempted MIL&COPS the first week, but that is exactly who should have been shut down.


So let's see ISRAEL WAR is bad (right wing), and drug war (right wing) is bad, ... but the problem is the LEFT will go after tea-party?

This has to be /sarc? Or  is it stupid? Or is it just one person here with 100's of fake monikers posting shit?


Well I do agree with one thing on the permanent ISRAEL(AIPAC) war mongering and that is the LEFT&RIGHT, including KRUGMAN are all owned by IRAEL.

'DRUG WAR' of course is just a war on freedom, ... like the porn war, ... or the long ago alcohol prohibition war, the USA gumint has always loved to rob it citzens forever, and what better way than a war on something in your house, and an excuse to rob that house.


Just another reason to leave the USA.


The LEFT and RIGHT SUCK DICk, the DEM & PUG suck dick, and 99% of all CITIZEN population are free shit army parasites,


great fucking country

DaddyO's picture

It seems Carlin401 is snorting the fairy dust and the hallucinations are a bitch...

Truly delusional.


formadesika3's picture

Guy had a glass jaw. Seen as 'broken window' fallacy?

carlin401's picture

Krugman really does care about 'people'


He's a writer and a thinker and NOT a fucking politician or BANKER.


The banks got their welfare since 2008, and Krugman is the only voice of reason telling the political left in WASH-DC not to fuck the'little guy'


Krugman can be thought of a lobbyist for the poor, as the BANKS and rich own the fucking government, they have no say.


The fact that KRUGMAN advocates that some of the PONZI cash flow to the poor is why he is hated by the banks, and the ZH(MSM).


So pray tell, why does ZH hate Krugman so much? When in effect he is simply 'robbin hood' that advocates that the FED PONZI money should flow to the masses, instead of just to the 'elite' (AIPAC/BIS).

Me thinks that given the ZH history of its hatred for anybody that discussses anything real about TPTB that they hate Krugman and diss him as such, ... but its Ironic, because Krugman speaks for the poor dumb folk on ZH as users, but not for its guardians, who are simply slaves to the master's of our universe.

VD's picture

discusses anything real? Krugman is a deluded joke and it's painfully apparant from reading any of his garbage op-ed bunk over last many years. you don't want real, you want the NYTimes pal.

carlin401's picture

Well Krugman holds a Nobel Laureate and many advanced degrees from the finest 'institutions' on the planet, the fact that you can't spell leads the question, "Who are you to judge others?"

Krugman is consistent, "NO FUCKING AUSTERITY", he in my mind is speaking to the 'left' as he 'knows' the 'right' don't listen.

Funny that folks like you and I'm sure its ZH (/sarc), but funny that we aren't actually talking about what KRUGMAN's message, but instead we talking about Von Mises Institutes twisted attempt to change the fucking subject, and straw man attacks on Krugman for no apparent reason.

In my mind Von Mises was an interesting author of 'books', but like Ron Paul, I think von mises institute doesn't have a fucking thing to do with the man, other than having stole his name.


I will not disagree that KRUGMAN is good/bad, but his message is consistent, ... DONT FUCKING PUNISH THE POOR BECAUSE THE RICH ARE STUPID.

So now I ask, what kind of fucking MORON could oppose Krugmans theme?


Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

nice try with the carlin name. krugman advocates for the theft of 2-3 % of every persons prchasing power by the fed and govt every year. this disproportionately affects the lwer and middle class. how is that helping the poor?


carlin401's picture

The FED existed long before KRUGMAN was born.

The FED will continue to do what it does, because +90% of the USA all belongs to the FSA ( free shit army that rapes the fucking world ).

IMHO Krugman goes along with party line, ... he simply is the 'liberal stooge' that reminds the vultures to leave a little meat on the bone for the poor.



Stupid fucking debate, I would much rather be talking about our next president HILLARY CLINTON BITCH, but ZH will NOT allow that,

Bashing Krugman is like kicking a Puppy.


Richard Chesler's picture

Troll cleanup in aisle 2.
Aisle 2, troll cleanup.

spine001's picture

Carli401 I am sad to see good people fight. Krugman is well educated, well me too. And in topics he doesn't understand, like non linear dynamic feedback systems. If you check the web you will find that this is the skill algorithm traders look for and they end up hiring physicists and NOT economists. It actually does allow you to predict market changes a few ticks ahead of time. It is so accurate that the big guys have been forced to break the law and allow their trades to jump the queue, a great article about that here in ZH. So hopefully I have established that economists don't really understand the system behavior of the global economy. From my perspective Krugman does believe in what he predicates and he is sure that he is correct. That is what makes him so dangerous. He has forgotten the Theory of Perspectives of Kahneman. Kahneman (another nobel price winner in economy) makes it extremely clear that we all have a cognitive bias to believe we can understand the behavior of complex systems, when in reality we are only constructing simplified mental models that fit into our preconceptions and biases, another cognitive bias called confirmation bias. This is probably an evolutionary bias to keep us sane when confronted with unresolvable problems. When you understand non linear dynamic feddback systems, you are forced to recognize your limited ability to make predictions of any type. The systems are infinitely dependent on the initial conditions, meaning that a butterfly flap can infinitely change the end point of the system, something that we mathematically see as the solution ofnthe set of differential equations that govern the states through which the system has to evolve. Only very especific equilibrium states are possible.


Once you have develop this understanding and become humble and begin to doubt EVERYTHING you can see the Krugman's and Bernanke's of this world as pityful creatures that emboldened in their false sense of understanding and HUBRIS are being used as stupid puppets by the real players that don't care about anybody or anything except their survival and the survival of their power.


So what do we do to understand these systems in control engineering and physics. Well we have learned that the only way to understadn them is to characterize their dynamic behavior and to define the regions where the system could become stable again, for instance going back to the stone age is a possible attractor of the world economic system, once you understand the possible attractor you attempt to maintain the system in the desired attractor. Or you attempt to guide it to another desired stable attractor, somethimg extremely difficult to do in real life situations. So what do webdo when the system gets out of control, well we simoly shut down the plant and restart it from zero, please imagine restarting the world economic system.



So what is happening? Basically the massive interventions before the QE era of the CB have made the previous attractor unstable and the system is trying on its own to find anothernstable attractor, so here we have a group ofnpeoplenwith NO background academic or experimental in control theory trying to force the system to not abandon the current attractor because they have the enourmous HUBRIS to belkieve that they can prevent it from reaching what it is clearly the new attractor, a world where the inneficient goes bankrupt, where those who don't add value

to society dissapear, something that although normal for nature and the millions of years of evolution is extremely cruel in Western Society's eyes. For doing that they are convinced that their way of intefering with the system will work. Well it is sad to see them doing what they are doing and making an already extremely difficult situation much worse.




mvsjcl's picture

Go away and return only after you've been broadsided by a clue.

jerry_theking_lawler's picture

or a 2x4....either would be sufficient in my book.

CuttingEdge's picture

"Well Krugman holds a Nobel Laureate"

I'll counter that with:

"Obummer has a Nobel peace prize?"


They give them out to pricks of all persuasions...


centerline's picture

Interesting way of putting Krugman.  I tend to agree more than disagree there.  Regarding the FSA, it is a virus.  It is the ponzi.  They aren't owners though.  They are the wave upon which the powerful surf (serf, lol).

Hang 10 man!  This one is a tsunami.

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Mate you're like Galileo arguing with the priests why the Earth is NOT the center of the universe. There is so much misunderstanding of the two simple words "inflation" and "deflation". "Let's see, when something deflates, that must be bad". They don't get that it's their standard of living that is deflating.

disabledvet's picture

the problem in my view...and this is supported by the empirical evidence i might add...that "banks are stupid." THEY are the ones in the liquidity trap...not We the People. the Government has a problem both a: "because only one guy saw the opportunity of a lifetime in Bakken Shale" (he's now a billionaire and the State of North Dakota et al is now rich) and the many other opportunities that existed since the 2008 collapse. (cloud computing, carbon nano, solar, 3d printing, etc) some totally private, some totally public...most missed by the "capitalizers" (short sellers) and "resort to gold thesis" people. in other words "the New Deal was really bad until it became the greatest deal ever." the inability to maintain the gold price however blew LBJ's "Great Society" away forever. the Austrians have become Shrek my view...simply trolling to contain their inherent unhappiness at being on the wrong end here. I do agree however Krugman's "livin' the dream" has its own set of problems and issues as well. in other words "if we're rich beyond belief how come they have all the money?"

artless's picture

"Krugman holds a Nobel Laureate and many advanced degrees"

Brother you really need some help. Here are a few other Nobels:

Kissinger(mass murdering war criminal) Arafat (terrorist, thief, all around douche) Obama (needs no explanation)

Get my drift? On that note Dear Leader supposedly has a Law degree and Shrub before him a MFA from Ivy league.

Neither men have ANY concept of the law or the constitution much less any understabnding of economics. I'll throw my public high school degree up against any of these trolls ESPECIALLY Krugman anytime and anywhere and I will bury the man in debate simply by citing his countless contradictions THAT ARE CEMENTED IN PRINT FOR ETERNITY and readily available if you chose to actually read the rtipe the fool writes.

From where I'm from Krugman is what we call "a moron's moron".

I oppose his theme. It is statism, collectivism, authoritarianism, outright plain old fascism if you choose to actually know what that means and is instead of throwing it around at just the folks who aren't "for the poor".

Yes absolutely The Krugster is for the poor. His polcies have created millions of them.


VD's picture

krugman, with his nobel, has, with his profound econometric insights, predicted ZERO economic events, not limited to the great recession. he espoused neo-keynesian debt to infinity and sees nothing wrong with, in effect, gov insolvency. another econ clown, clown.


we could dissect his dangerous opining (eg classics like alien invasions, broken windows and the like, not to mention his NEG), but you've already made up your mind...

DaveyJones's picture

"many advanced degrees from the finest 'institutions' on the planet,"

Kaczynski went to Harvard



centerline's picture

Hmmm... maybe because he tows the line for the establishment using closed system and antiquated analysis that can only be termed dogma.

Watching the world burn while playing "king of the ivory tower" is just the icing on the cake here in terms of why to be repulsed.

Krugman's speaking for the poor is very disingenuos at best.  And I am being kind here.  

carlin401's picture

I'm not so sure,

I don't see krugman on Clintons lear jets, or coasting like greenspan(another von-mises/ayn-rand talker, but does another), or bernanke, or yellen, now those are fucking parasites,

Krugman is just a some fucking economic intellectual that likes to blow his bubble and the NYT will print his shit, and I think he actually enjoy's blowing fart's back into the Rush Limbaugh crowds face.






So there you have it, the real reason that the so called 'stock brokers' of ZH hate KRUGMAN because he points out clearly that all the bonus and shit on WALL-STREET are  based on fucking ILLUSION.



Economist Paul Krugman points out, “The pay system on Wall Street lavishly rewards

the appearance of profit, even if that appearance later turns out to have been an illusion.”




artless's picture

Dude, Greenspan left the Rand cult many, many years ago. He never truly understood econ and was sukced in by the Keynsesian hell hole. Don't blame Rand for old Alan. And certainly do not associate ANYTHING free market, libertarian, or Austrian to Greenspan.

Read Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets by Lila Rajiva nad Bill Bonner if you want a real look at Greenspam. He like Krugman are just a tool for the global elite.

You have some work to do.

centerline's picture

Agreed.  He is a different sort for sure.  And perhaps not parasitical.  I personally lump him the academic group who has done tremendous passive destruction.  His work (like that of so many economists/mathematicians before, including Mises I believe)  becomes a tool of the parasites.  Guilty for trying to ride the fence.

I used to hold out some hope for the profession of economics via Steve Keen.  Really sad to see him withdraw into his world of differential equations over the last year - including getting drawn into Krugman's world.  Not that I don't appreciate his non-linear, disequalibrium, endogeneous, etc. thinking.  He is closer than anyone else.  But he too has the "academia" disease it seems.  A victim of closed system analysis that fails to properly account for international capital flows and how the systems benefit most those who are closest to the money creation.

One such gem is the belief that debt is just money we owe to ourselves.  Another is that one mans debt is another mans financial asset.  On ledger paper this is true.  In real life it is true.  Hence, defensible from an academic standpoint.  Now, let me ask if in practice you see this working to create a stable society or do you see cycles of debt saturation where those who are closest to the creation and control of the money benefit disproportionaly?

Academics who ignore reality make me want to scream.


DaveyJones's picture

"One such gem is the belief that debt is just money we owe to ourselves."

Enron tried that

that is at the core of a lot of this stupdity.

in the end however, I think it's more lies than stupidity

NidStyles's picture

Why do you ignorants always get shit so wrong?

yepyep's picture

krugman is a shill and you are delusional.

e_goldstein's picture

Krugman is a thinker.

I think that's the funniest shit I've read all month, dude. Thanks for that.

jerry_theking_lawler's picture

These guys (Krugman, et al) have an agenda...and it is not liberty and freedom or the truth...


They comb through the data looking for historical information that 'prove' their point.....anyone can do that. Predicting the future, now that is a real feat. 

SunRise's picture

If Krugman cares about people, then why does he instantly bypass any concern with robbing them to pursue his ideas?

nmewn's picture

"Krugman can be thought of a lobbyist for the poor, as the BANKS and rich own the fucking government, they have no say."

Krugman is a "progressive" nanny-state enabler preaching something called socio-economics. Which is nothing more than the state deciding how many crumbs the poor will recieve from the tables of the rich & powerful so they don't revolt and burn everything they own to the ground.

The interesting thing to note in this scheme is the poor always STAY POOR and the plugged-in wealthy & powerful always STAY RICH. That is to say, the poor remain in bondage, while he and the other overseers of the plantation remain fat & happy.

He is the worst sort of human being imaginable, a geuine wolf in sheeps clothing, who jumps up on his desk at the NYT's & howls constantly that the rich & powerful "progressive" statists (like Bloomberg, Schumer, Fwank, etal) are the only ones who know whats best for the poor...even as the ranks of the poor continue to swell to proportions never seen or imagined in this country before.

Trust the results your eyes reveal, not what someone says those results are.

DaveyJones's picture

people who write and think can be stupid

TheReplacement's picture

The policies Krugman advocates hurts everyone besides TPTB and the very, very rich, no matter how they are implemented.  He is a fool and a tool.  That is why we hate him.  If you can't see that then you are either blind or some kind of disinformation agent of TPTB or both.

Anusocracy's picture

Fairyism lives in the land of the Left.

carlin401's picture

Fascism lives in the land of the right.


"When fascism comes to america, it will be wrapped in an american flag" -smedly butler 1932


Dull Care's picture

Umm Fascism is a leftist political orientation. The Nazis performed best in traditional left wing areas, and worst in conservative places like Bavaria. Jospeh Goebbels said the Nazis were the party of the German Left. Mussolini was a socialist.



carlin401's picture

Well I have a hard time seeing the John Denver crowd as
fascist, but right-wingers in the USA meet the mark,

Of course Hillary, Pelosi, Fienstein, are all fascist

But as a rule-of-thumb the 'Pugs' tend to be the
law&order party,

Yep, HITLER came to power via the anti-war german hippy
movement of the 1920's post WWI, the swastika is a 'peace symbol' in buddhism for 1,000+ years.

Mussolini in mind created fascism, but yes HITLER came to power from the LEFT, but once in power went right, Mussolini was always right.

Nazism is national-socialism, italian fascism was business and government, Hitler simply 'nationalized' all the company's funny when the USA conquered IRAQ post WWII they put saddam-hussein power and had him incubate HITLER NAZI government, that's how impressed the CIA was with HITLER's post WWII plan for a new world order.

Yep, left and right don't mean shit in real-politik, but in the street it still means bambi on the left, and cop on the right.


How many 'liberal' Pugs are there in the USA? I can't think of one, how many 'liberal' Dem's? I can only think of 2 ( oregon&vermont)


I still say that KRUGMAN is a liberal,... that he cares about people.

Before you assholes made 'liberal' a bad word, ... long ago it meant "Liberty", ... a good thing,

But the assholes hate liberty, so they demonized the word, but same for 'conservative' long ago teddy roosevelt wanted to converse the forests for jobs and hunting and he was demonized for 'conservation'

Both conservationism, and liberalism once upon a time were good things, ... only now in ORWELLIAN USA 2013 are they bad.

Dull Care's picture

Mussolini was never right wing, he was always a proud socialist. You clearly have not studied the man. Fascism is a versatile ideology with the potential to arouse sympathy from across the spectrum but it tends toward the left.

The communists were a rather 'law and order' bunch. 

I would consider myself rather right-wing but that means different things to different people. In my case it means cultural conservatism combined with steadfast opposition to the welfare/warfare/police state.

Krugman is a mouthpiece for the central bankers. He couldn't give a fig about the average goyim in the street.

artless's picture

So confused.

Liberalism is a word that was co-opyed by the progressives. There is nothing whatsoever in Kgurman's writing or ideology that even hints of Liberty.

Perhaps you should read Liberalism by Von Mises. Maybe check in with the term classic liberal or paleo liberal and you might get and idea about what you are trying to speak.

Ah yes and the progressives. Wilson. Rascisr, segregationisr, war monger, income tax, The Fed. Good Times. Teddy Roosevelt. war monger, power nungry anti-market, globalist, murdering, elitist shitbag. Good times. So now liberal is the dirty word in some quarters so they go back to progressive. Same shit, different messengers. Statism, socialist econ policies, fascist mindset, and all at the barrel of a gun. Good times.

Krugman is just one of the useful idiots in the long parade.

Okay, that's it I have to go ride my bike for 5 hrs.

DaveyJones's picture

you got to get out of this left right thing and just think about crime, organized crime.

carlin401's picture

Krugman doesn't really give a fuck about 'reality' or 'austerity', he deals with what is, ... and he's probably right.

Given that paper money can be printed to the moon, and given that the USA has the military power to force feed the world to eat its toilet paper, even if the world is NOT hungry,... it can continue, for no other reason because it can.

To go back, or to change, what once was, would be to terrible and painful for all, it is far better to embrace the culture and WASH-DC that we have, rather than 'reset' and hope that out of the carnage comes something better.

Given that we have now entered a permanent state of 'PONZI' there is no reason it cannot last forever, given that it is back by military force.

Study ROME, they lasted 500 years after their money was near worthless, their problem is they went to a mercenary army, and the farmers quit sending grain for worthless money. Given that the USA can go back to enlist the 'hungry' to keep the status quo protected, the USA doesn't have to end like Rome, and has CHINA or RUSSIA proved long ago the FARMER, can easily be forced to deliver grain to the city's forever.

Just stating the obvious, rather than talking about 'fairy shit'.

Attitude_Check's picture

You should double check your history.  Western Roman empire fell shortly after seperating from the eastern half which was the half with all the money.  It took awhile for the west to implode because of the power vacuum in western Europe.  The germanic tribes eventually changed that.