When Good Things Happen to Bad Ideas

The search for better economic policy.
June 10 1999 3:30 AM

When Good Things Happen to Bad Ideas

Time and chance happeneth to economists, too.

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 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

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But there is also, I think, another moral. If being smart is no guarantee of being right, having been right is not necessarily an indicator that someone is smart. Suppose that you hear someone making what sounds like a dumb argument, but you know that he has an impressive track record at market or economic prediction. Guess what: The argument may be as dumb as it sounds.

Paul Krugman writes a twice-weekly column for the New York Times and is professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University. His home page contains links to many of his other articles and essays.

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