Ralph Benko

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — “I refute it thus.” — Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson

Paul Krugman may be America’s greatest living reactionary polemicist. He is an elegant writer and irredentist adversary to free market proponents of policies of economic-growth-with-an-equitable-Gini-coefficient-distribution-of-income. Krugman’s clever invective-suffused narrative is mesmerizing. Its Achilles heel? His narrative is, fatally, short on facts.

Recently, Krugman, promoting End This Depression Now, was interviewed by prominent progressive Thom Hartmann, on Russia Today’s “Conversation With Great Minds.”

Hartmann: “Another piece of this whole voodoo conspiracy theory … is that … we should never have gone off the gold standard, that the solution to all of our problems in the kind of Ron Paul world is just for the government to create coins made out of gold and that’s it.”

Krugman: “Yeah, That’s another one of those things that is just amazing that people would be believing that. …”

Hartmann: “So what would you say specifically to someone who is promoting the gold standard … ?”

Krugman: “[T]o a young person who is trying to understand you need to tell them, you think that the people who talk like this are on the side of the little guy and against the banks but they’re not, they are actually supporting a policy that rich people, that billionaires have always liked. The reason that the gold standard, that goldbugism, survives in this modern world is because it is a doctrine that has always been subsidized heavily by billionaires, who like the idea that nobody can print money and nobody can inflate away their assets even if a little bit of inflation is what it takes to rescue the nation from mass unemployment.”

Hartmann: “So it’s a scam?”

Ralph Benko

Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to transform the world. He serves as an advisor to and editor of the Lehrman Institute's thegoldstandardnow.org and senior advisor to the American Principles Project.