Famous historishan (like a historian, except you write about history-ish instead of history) and Very Important Opinion-Haver Niall Ferguson (FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m a big, big fan) has long had a beef with Paul Krugman, rooted in Krugman’s repeated and offensive habit of pointing out that Ferguson doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about most of the time. But now Ferguson has ensnared his nemesis in an error! Krugman has been rather insistent for some time now that the Euro is not long for this world or at least that the countries that are getting royally screwed by the Euro would pull out or be kicked out, yet the Euro is still here and no countries have left the Eurozone, ergo Krugman is WRONG!!!11!!!1! Yet he hasn’t ever admitted it!!!!!one!!
I’m not here to defend Paul Krugman, and in point of fact he has actually been wrong, so far, in his predictions about the Eurozone (something which he has actually admitted, and quite recently, but I wouldn’t expect a celebrated academic like Niall Ferguson to research the things he writes or whatever). No, I’m here instead to quibble just slightly with Ferguson’s concluding paragraph:
To be precise, I would like to see [Krugman] admit that he got the biggest call of the last several years [survival of the Eurozone] dead wrong, again and again and again. Not only should he admit his mistake, but he should also apologize to the millions of people who have suffered as a result of it. Or does he believe that his numerous, widely read predictions of imminent currency break-up had no impact whatever on the expectations of European investors and consumers?
Really? I mean, I’m no historishan, but I’m pretty sure that the “biggest call of the last several years” is still “should the United States invade Iraq for absolutely no justifiable reason?” although, to be fair, I guess “several” could mean “less than ten,” if you really needed it to mean that so you wouldn’t sound dumb. But I’m going with Iraq anyway, and I’m also going to suggest that the violent invasion of another country, and the years-long (ongoing, don’t you know?) civil war and regional instability that the invasion spawned, have caused considerably more suffering than Paul Krugman’s opinion about the viability of the Euro. And on that particular call, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that Paul Krugman was right and Niall Ferguson was very, very wrong, despite his best efforts to rewrite history (very history-ish of him) to pretend that he wasn’t.
UPDATE: Niall’s epic “Krugtron” series, now up to part 3 over at HuffPo (the home of all great scholarship), has now wasted upwards of 10,000 words on a rant that would more accurately be titled “People Who Criticize Me Suck.” Remember, next time you’re wondering how to make next month’s car payment, that this guy, who desperately wants to see government aid to the poor and vulnerable cut to the bone, is paid so well to write fictional history that he can afford to spend time crafting a 10,000-word long whine for a free blogging site.