I was, of course, only saying something that critics of conventional theory had been saying for decades. Yet my point was not part of the mainstream of international economics. Why? Because it had never been expressed in nice models. The new monopolistic competition models gave me a tool to open cleanly what had previously been regarded as a can of worms. More important, however, I suddenly realized the remarkable extent to which the methodology of economics creates blind spots. We just don’t see what we can’t formalize. And the biggest blind spot of all has involved increasing returns. So there, right at hand, was my mission: to look at things from a slightly different angle, and in so doing to reveal the obvious, things that had been right under our noses all the time.
It is one of the larger paradoxes of our time that the very same food policies that have contributed to overnutrition in the first world are now contributing to undernutrition in the third. But it turns out that too much food can be nearly as big a problem as too little — a lesson we should keep in mind as we set about designing a new approach to food policy.
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One day after the Nobel committee announced that Paul Krugman had won the 2008 Nobel Prize for economics, colleagues of Mr. Krugman voiced concerns that winning the coveted award could turn him into an egregious douchebag.
At The New York Times, where Mr. Krugman is an op-ed page columnist, and at Princeton University, where he is a professor of economics, co-workers of the newly-minted Nobel laureate were reportedly bracing for the worst.
“I think it’s safe to say that Paul had pretty high self-esteem before the Nobel thing went down,” said one of Mr. Krugman’s Princeton associates, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But now he’s walking around like he’s Jay-Z or something.”
The first ominous sign, according to the associate, came at a meeting of the economics department this morning, when Mr. Krugman showed up with a coffee mug reading, “No. 1 Economist.”