Quote Of The Day

Alabama has the same per capita income and slightly faster growth rate as the Social Democratic EU.15, which Krugman wants us to believe is a “Dynamic” region that the US should “learn from”. Has Paul Krugman ever written a column asking us to learn from the economy of Alabama? Of course not. That would be simply idiotic. Alabama is poor, and has a lower standard of living, just like the E.U 15. It only manages to grow faster than others because it starts off at such a low level (the EU doesn’t even manage to do that).” — Super Economy blog

4 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”

  • Other than scoring a cheap point by nitpicking stats, what the heck is this guy saying?

    Is he saying Alabama is a great place to live? It doesn’t sound like it, since he has a lot of bad things to say about Alabama. So, I guess his position must be that the EU is even worse than Alabama. A complete hell-hole. Is that really his opinion? Really? Because I think we can all agree that that opinion is deeply divorced from reality. Am I reading him fairly? Is this guy an actual economist? And, by the way, what kind of an economist equates “net income per capita” to “standard of living”? That’s just unbelievably sloppy.

  • There is some history behind this. Here is the short version.

    Jim Manzi wrote an article in National Affairs (Do you subscribe? I do – great publication!) basically arguing that Europe, relative to the United States, is less rich and we should not be following their model.

    Paul Krugman picked up on the piece and argued in favor of some sort of European model – directly contradicting Jam Manzi’s point.

    This kicked off a blog discussion with liberals and conservatives/libertarians picking sides and giving their reasons why.

    The quote above is from one of my favorite responses of all. His main point: Europe is comparable to Alabama, one of our poorest states. Not a great place or bad place to live necessarily, but certainly not a model worth pursuing.

    Regarding “net income per capita” to “standard of living”…GDP/capita is the most cited and looked at indicator for judging a countries standard of living – by economists on both sides. Granted, there is more to life than GDP/capita…but its one of the big ones.

  • Points Per Game is the “most cited and looked at indicator” for judging a basketball player’s value. But if I were a sportswriter I wouldn’t dare argue that two players with similar PPG are equally valuable players by virtue of that one statistic. And I certainly wouldn’t conflate the two in the same paragraph.

    In fact, if I wanted to argue that one player is better than another (and be taken seriously) I would use one of the many widely-known systems that have been devised specifically to calculate a player’s worth.

    Unsurprisingly, similar systems have been created by economists that are meant to measure standard-of-living across countries. I won’t bother to Google them, since I’m sure you are aware of this.

    Now, if the intent of the person you quoted was, as you claim, to argue that Alabama’s standard-of-living is similar to Northern Europe’s (which, frankly, boggles my mind) then I can’t help but ask – “Why doesn’t he bother to use one of these common, well-known indexes for standard-of-living?” But I think I know the answer to that question.

  • His full post (its kinda long) does just that…I took this one quote as a snippet only. Not in any way meant to make his whole argument – which he does very well himself, here, here and here.

    Also, remember, this discussion is in the context of one with Paul Krugman. Krugman, in making the case for Europe, is the one that used GDP/capita…the author above is just responding in kind.

    Either way, I highly recommend his full posts, which I linked above.

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