Why is Joe Scarborough risking his reputation by co-authoring with a notorious charlatan?

No need to review the bidding: other parts of the InterWebs have thoroughly demolished the Joe Scarborough-Jeff Sachs op-ed refuting arguments that Krugman never made. (The WaPo website served it to me with an ad for a stock tout, an ad for money-launderer HSBC, and “Three Early Signs of Dementia.” No, dammit, I am not making this up.)

But I do have a question: why should a journalist and former Member of Congress put his reputation at risk by co-authoring with a notorious charlatan whose promotion of “shock therapy” (itself a plagiarism from Milton Friedman’s “shock policy”) inflicted damage from which Russia may never recover, and who once proposed that Bolivia solve its coca-production problem by buying the land where the coca is grown?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

4 thoughts on “Scarborough-Sachs-Krugman”

  1. Thanks for the chuckle Mark.
    I think Mr. Chait has the answer why an insightful journalist like Morning Joe would risk it. Here is his analysis of an op-ed Mr. Scarborough flew solo on:

    Analyzing the argument in a Joe Scarborough–authored op-ed is inherently challenging. (The written word in general is just a terrible medium for Scarborough, hiding his winning personality while exposing his inaptitude for analysis.) It mainly consists of using variations of “debt denier” repeatedly to describe his opponents. To his credit, Scarborough finally cites one actual economist who shares his view, a welcome departure from his usual method of answering charges that he is in the grips of an incestuous groupthink driven by non-economist elites by citing the agreement of his non-economist elite friends. Unfortunately for Scarborough, the economist he cites, Alan Blinder, turns out to hold essentially the same view as Krugman.

    By the way, did anybody else read Erick Erickson’s diary today!? This is absolutely delightful stuff. Almost as fun as Mr. Chait:

  2. You are probably overestimating the influence of foreign carpetbaggers like Sachs on Russian policy, as against local Wa-Benzi. According to the sketchy Wikipedia article, Chubais had criticised as unfair a voucher privatisation scheme advanced in 1980 as a thought experiment by another liberal Russian economist, Vitaly Nayshul. But when he had power under Yeltsin, that’s what Chubais carried out. Chubais and his pals were quite as able as Sachs and much, much less innocent.

  3. Dont’ forget the thinking of the economist Ronald Coase on Russia’s economics problems post-USSR. His arguments of naturally occuring markets was one of the main drivers of how voucherization would be all cool in the end…

    I didn’t know you were such a hater on Sachs Mark?!? I used to think more highly of him until recently, when he went contra Krugman against stimulus efforts.

    And I dont’ really get his whole economic development model, theories, etc. He seems to ignore the obvious success stories, such as the East Asian tigers, while attacking everyone who does not embrace his flavor of the month.

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