Not his exact words, mind you.
Krugman in his November 7 review of William Nordhaus’ new book on climate change economics:
Forty years ago a brilliant young Yale economist named William Nordhaus published a landmark paper, “The Allocation of Energy Resources,” that opened new frontiers in economic analysis….
For if one looks back at “The Allocation of Energy Resources,” one learns two crucial lessons. First, predictions are hard, especially about the distant future. Second, sometimes such predictions must be made nonetheless.
Looking back at “Allocation” after four decades, what’s striking is how wrong the technical experts were about future technologies….For what it’s worth, current oil prices, adjusted for overall inflation, are about twice Nordhaus’s prediction, while coal and especially natural gas prices are well below his baseline….
So the future is uncertain, a reality acknowledged in the title of Nordhaus’s new book, The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World. Yet decisions must be made taking the future—and sometimes the very long-term future—into account….And as Nordhaus emphasizes, although perhaps not as strongly as some would like, when it comes to climate change uncertainty strengthens, not weakens, the case for action now.
But it seems that we have, without knowing it, made an immensely dangerous bet: namely, that we’ll be able to use the power and knowledge we’ve gained in the past couple of centuries to cope with the climate risks we’ve unleashed over the same period. Will we win that bet? Time will tell. Unfortunately, if the bet goes bad, we won’t get another chance to play.
Krugman on October 24 discussing the people warning about big government deficits and central bank asset purchases:
Once upon a time, walking around shouting “The end is nigh” got you labeled a kook, someone not to be taken seriously. These days, however, all the best people go around warning of looming disaster….
As I’ve already suggested, there are two remarkable things about this kind of doomsaying. One is that the doomsayers haven’t rethought their premises despite being wrong again and again — perhaps because the news media continue to treat them with immense respect. The other is that as far as I can tell nobody, and I mean nobody, in the looming-apocalypse camp has tried to explain exactly how the predicted disaster would actually work.
On the Chicken Little aspect: It’s actually awesome, in a way, to realize how long cries of looming disaster have filled our airwaves and op-ed pages.
So has the ex-Maestro reconsidered his views after having been so wrong for so long? Not a bit.
So the next time you see some serious-looking man in a suit declaring that we’re teetering on the precipice of…doom, don’t be afraid. He and his friends have been wrong about everything so far, and they literally have no idea what they’re talking about.
Just to be clear, I skillfully used ellipses so it wasn’t obvious Krugman was talking about people wanting to cut government spending. And the ex-Maestro who hasn’t reconsidered his views after having been so wrong for so long is Greenspan, not Nordhaus.