Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

COMMENT ON A COMMENT

S. Wallerstein, writing from Chile [!!], has made several interesting comments lately.  Here is part of one just posted:

"I watched some Sanders' videos in YouTube and he talks a lot about fighting back and organizing against the elites, against big money and against a system which screws ordinary people, all of which I agree with. However, that kind of talk must freak Krugman out, since Krugman, although anti-neoliberal, is the kind of intellectual who sees all change as coming from enlightened elites, people with Ph.D.'s from top universities and for Krugman, the masses organizing and fighting back must seem uncouth."

I think that is spot-on [as we used to say] about Krugman.  One of the things I really like about Piketty is that after bagging the dream job in the MIT Economics Department at a young age, he walked away from it and went back to France.  He did not exactly rusticate, but it took guts to turn his back on the premier department in the world.  Krugman, by contrast, seems to me to be a supremely smart, naturally progressive careerist.  His contempt for Very Important People [until he became one] is quite consistent with that careerism, because the reference group whose good opinion he seeks and cherishes is not public figures or opinion leaders but rather essentially the Mass Avenue bubble with Harvard at one end and MIT at the other.  That is a bubble I know quite well.


I do wonder, as was suggested, whether he secretly hopes for a plum job in a Clinton Administration.  That wouldn't surprise me at all, nor would I be surprised to learn that behind-the-scenes conversations have already been initiated.  Indeed, he may have been wooed by the Clintons, who are way shrewder than Krugman is about these matters, so that he may not even have been aware that he was being seduced.

5 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

I think that you're right about Krugman. I was probably a bit harsh about him in a previous comment when I suggested that he was fishing for a job with a future Clinton administration. Most probably, as you suggest, people in the Clinton campaign are playing on his ego, suggesting that Sanders is a loser (they probably have polls that we don't see), telling him that Hillary is so very interested in what Paul has to say, etc. For Krugman, being influential is very important (I think) and here's a chance to influence a future president Hillary. He can even convince himself, without being entirely dishonest, that someone with clearly anti-neoliberal ideas like himself can help push Hillary to the left. If he's a consequentialist, which he probably is, Krugman can then conclude that the greatest good would be to support Hillary and to exert a slightly leftwing influence on her.

Thank you for posting my previous comment. That does wonders for my ego.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Hey, the comments are good. What are you doing in Chile?

s. wallerstein said...

I've lived here for over half my life, for over 37 years. I teach English (as a foreign language), I worked in human rights during the Pinochet dictatorship and still more or less move in human rights circles here.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Wow! Very impressive. Welcome to the blog.

s. wallerstein said...

Thank you. I'll try to live up to your good opinion of me....