Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion

. Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Adam Elkus was kind enough to interview me for the Abu Muquwama blog at CNAS. He asks about my use of network methods in my research, my thoughts on IPE more generally, and some experiences blogging. You can find it here.


Ronan said...

I remember that CT thread, and it was hilarious, but you held yourself well despite being absolutely and completely wrong on everything, initially ; )

I think part of the problem with your Krugman thing (at least from my laymans view) is that at times the critiques seemed to lack generosity, particularly given the audience he writes for (which isn’t academic) I think he has to be given a bit of leeway, which a lot of academics writing for popular audiences do get (some of Drezners, for example, posts on the Middle East I have personally found (with no expertise etc myself) to be simplistic and largely nonsensical)

From my reading though Krugman is offering a materialist account. He’s doing so in a polemic and self righteous way, for sure, stripped of academic jargon and overly personalised, but its foundations are still materialist, afaics. (For example, without having read back on his NYRB article you talk about, wouldn’t the concept of a Fed Borg hold up pretty well under professional pol science scrutiny, i.e. the Fed Chair is constrained in what they can do for materialist, ideological, beaurucratic, socialisation etc reasons? It’s certainly a simplistic why of framing it, but it’s the same idea, more or less)

I guess that can grate when you’re trained into this field though and know the lit well, but when you don’t know it well, which I don’t, it can be refreshing (although I don’t read him as much now for various reasons) Anyway that’s neither here nor there really.

One or two more thing in regards the last few threads (1) I think an extra 5 grand a year is a substantial increase in wages, particularly if you have children, a mortgage or are in a career that’s not going to obviously progress in the near future (2) Have you read Maoz’s book Network of Nations?

ps are you trained into computational social science? I know thats what Aelkus is doing

Ronan said...

Sorry, Elkus not Aelkus..and I was half joking about Drezner, in case I offend anyone

Kindred Winecoff said...

I wasn't wrong!

Krugman has made it very clear that critiques do not require generosity. I am often quite generous with others that I criticize, but Krugman has started this mode of discourse and I don't think there's any other way to engage with him. (Which is why many prominent econ bloggers don't.)

E.g., if you read the NYRB "Fed Borg" article he actually dismisses materialist and bureaucratic explanations. He comes right out and says that there is clearly an optimal policy, Bernanke know what it is but isn't following it (as if he had complete control over the Fed, which he doesn't), so therefore he must've been brainwashed by risk averse Fed culture. I think that's a crazy way to read the history. The Fed has engaged in unprecedented expansionist policies in a political environment in which Republicans want to abolish the institution (or worse... Rick Perry threatened physical violence against Bernanke), Democrats think the Fed is 100% pro-bank, and the economics profession is divided.

The only political scientist that Krugman seems to pay attention to is Larry Bartels. Bartels is good, but he doesn't get everything right (esp w/r/t international politics, which he does not study). The point is that Krugman *isn't* trained in this field, but makes exceptionally strong claims about it that are just wrong. It's as frustrating as "horse race" political journalism, except as a social scientist Krugman really should know better.

1. As I said, $5k is not nothing, but it's really not all that much.

2. Yes. Parts of it anyway.

3. No, not formally. I'm trying to learn some ways into comp soc sci as I go, tho.

JR said...

Re: The Crooked Timber/Krugman/Bartels debate, I stumbled across this article recently when perusing the Perspectives on Politics back issues:

Bartels has a response to it in the same issue, but I remember at the time some tried to characterize the debate as occurring on some spectrum established by Bartels and Hacker/Pierson (that people are either ignorant or Republicans are flagrantly dishonest). This article at least is a data point against that characterization.

Kindred Winecoff said...


thanks for the link. Wish I'd seen this at the time.

LFC said...

I read your interview w Elkus at Abu Muqawawa down to where Krugman comes up and then I stopped. I rarely read Krugman, to be frank, and I'm not that interested in getting (again) into the discussion re him.

Two things: first, was interested in yr ref to Skyler and the dem. peace. I can look up Skyler -- haven't heard of him/her, I don't think. Is there a particular article or something you wd suggest?

Second, I rather wish you wd not say so forcefully and categorically that political science -- or perhaps it was just IPE you so characterized? -- is amoral, does not make normative assumptions, and treats the world as it is, not (contra economics) as it should be.

I realize you want to draw distinctions betw IPE, with its interest in power, and economics, and that's fine, but this stuff about no normative assumptions is wrong, in my view. Every social science discipline, every scholar, virtually every piece of work contains normative assumptions of some kind-- often implicit and unstated, but they are there.

Also,don't IPE scholars, not just economists, write about poverty, inequality, and development, and isn't some or much of that scholarship understandably motivated by an assumption that poverty and inequality are generally bad/undesirable? I tend to think (to rip a quotation from somewhere out of context) that there is an "inescapable connection between political reality and

Kindred Winecoff said...


Brief, b/c of a family emergency:

-- Skyler Cranmer.

-- I didn't say IPE didn't make normative assumptions. I only said that IPE is amoral. This is true. Any morality that folks inject into IPE does not come from IPE. It comes from somewhere else. In my view, in most cases neither IPE nor the outside positions from which the morality came is improved by mixing the two up, but YMMV.

But then I think morality, as a concept, is pretty boring to begin with.

LFC said...

Thanks for Skyler Cranmer ref. Will follow up as time permits.

p.s. I am tempted to say something snarky about the other stuff but instead I will just say: good luck with the new job.

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Shameless Self-Promotion




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