The Tinkerbell Theory of Government, Courtesy of Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman recounts a litany of government failures, which he blames on . . . wait for it . . .

And the common theme in all these stories is the degradation of effective government by antigovernment ideology.

. . . .

Yet antigovernment ideology remains all too prevalent, despite the havoc it has wrought. In fact, it has been making a comeback with the rise of the Tea Party movement. If there’s any silver lining to the disaster in the gulf, it is that it may serve as a wake-up call, a reminder that we need politicians who believe in good government, because there are some jobs only the government can do.

Uhm, Paul, the connection between purported cause and effect seems a little murky. Indeed, mightn’t the causation run in the other direction? Ya think that people’s disenchantment with government might be, you know, empirically based? Rooted in experience? In direct observation?

But no, Peter Pan Krugman Knows. Tinker Bell Government is dying because not enough people believe in her! So believe, everyone! Repeat after Peter Pan Paul! I do believe! I do believe in government! I do! I do! Obama believes! Do you? Oh, I do believe in government! I do believe!

Actually, it is beyond belief that any adult would believe that if we only had “politicians who believe in good government” that we will get good government.

Like Peter Pan, some people never grow up. Rather than doing a bad imitation of Mary Martin, Paul Krugman would be better to consider these words: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And there are few things more childish than blaming government failures on the ill will of “ideologues,” virtually none of whom are actually in government, and whose very ideology would indeed make them highly averse to being so. In other words, read public choice, not Peter Pan.

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About Craig Pirrong 238 Articles

Affiliation: University of Houston

Dr Pirrong is Professor of Finance, and Energy Markets Director for the Global Energy Management Institute at the Bauer College of Business of the University of Houston. He was previously Watson Family Professor of Commodity and Financial Risk Management at Oklahoma State University, and a faculty member at the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, and Washington University.

Professor Pirrong's research focuses on the organization of financial exchanges, derivatives clearing, competition between exchanges, commodity markets, derivatives market manipulation, the relation between market fundamentals and commodity price dynamics, and the implications of this relation for the pricing of commodity derivatives. He has published 30 articles in professional publications, is the author of three books, and has consulted widely, primarily on commodity and market manipulation-related issues.

He holds a Ph.D. in business economics from the University of Chicago.

Visit: Streetwise Professor

2 Comments on The Tinkerbell Theory of Government, Courtesy of Paul Krugman

  1. It’d also be nice if you offered something in the way of rebuttal rather than just childish rants…class dismissed prof.

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