Wednesday, August 04, 2010



It's so funny - blogger Duncan Black, AKA Atrios of Eschaton fame (which has been on my blog roll since I first started blogging) occasionally refers to Paul Krugman as "Krgthulu." I haven't been able to find out if he's ever given a reason for it. The earliest incident seems to be from December 2008.

He may only have done it occasionally, but it's enough so that if you Google "Krgthulu" the second hit that comes up is Krugman's own blog.

Usually I call him the Mighty Krug-Man, but I might start calling him Krgthulu too. It's pretty much the same thing - Krugman's awesome might. That's my guess for why Black uses the term - out of affection. Chthulu is:
... one of the central Great Old Ones of the Lovecraft Mythos. It is often cited for the extreme descriptions given of its hideous appearance, its gargantuan size, and the abject terror that it evokes. Cthulhu is often referred to in science fiction and fantasy circles as a tongue-in-cheek shorthand for extreme horror or evil.

Krugman is a big sci-fi fan (he was inspired to become an economist via Asimov's Foundation trilogy) and I bet he gets a kick out of the name.

The Left doesn't always agree with Krugman, but he gained so much respect from so many left-liberal bloggers because all throughout Bush's ascension to power and the early days of the Iraq war, Krugman was one of the very few pundits who would not slack off criticisms for the sake of "patriotism."

And to the Powers that Be, Krugman really is a powerful nemesis because:

a. Krugman is a self-professed liberal and

b. important enough that what he says is actually listened to by the people in power, who usually ignore liberals.

In fact, I think Krugman's influence has become so great that he has begun to influence the market, big time. He's been criticizing the "bond vigilantes" for months now and as reported (via Krugman's blog) by economist Stan Collender: "Bond Vigilantes are Now Deficit Cheerleaders.
It’s clear that the bond market is now giving at least as strong a signal about its desired fiscal policy as it did in the early 1990s. But instead of demanding reductions in the deficit and government borrowing and threatening higher interest rates if those don’t happen, today’s vigilantes are unmistakably saying just the opposite. They want Washington to do more to stimulate the economy, and they welcome the deficit and debt it will take to do it.
I don't have evidence, just a hunch, but I think that Krugman has become that influential. It's amazing that he's still not a household word. Krugman is kind of like the Velvet Underground of economists - "only about a thousand people bought The Velvet Underground & Nico, and all of them started a band." (TV Tropes attributes this to Brian Eno.)