Paul Krugman Refuses to Debate Austrian Economist for Charity

If New York Times columnist Paul Krugman debates Austrian economist Robert Murphy, a New York food bank will get over $73,000. Yet Krugman, who believes in income redistribution to help the poor, has refused to debate Murphy.

The author, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, says he does not want to debate in a “public circus." Krugman has previously cited Murphy’s analysis of capital theory as “the best exposition I’ve seen yet of the Austrian view that’s sweeping the GOP.”

Murphy reportedly created a campaign at ThePoint.com two years ago that allows visitors to pledge money to charity if Krugman debates him. Murphy has even suggested that liberal Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein moderates the debate. 

As of this writing, if Krugman accepts Murphy’s debate invitation, more than $73,000 will go to the Fresh Food Program of FoodBankNYC.org, a non-profit organization Krugman’s the New York Times says “delivers food to nearly all of the city’s food pantries and soup kitchens.”

If Krugman does not accept the debate, the food bank will receive no funds, and none of the people who have pledged money will be charged. More than $77,000 has been pledged so far.  

According to blogger Brian LaSorsa, this situation is a win-win for Austrian School of economics: 

There are only two possible outcomes: (1) Krugman approves and Murphy gets the chance to engage in an open and honest debate about economic policy while delivering a huge bag of money to a food bank’s doorstep, or (2) Krugman disapproves and we reveal a redistributionist as hypocritical.

Murphy himself explains that by denying the challenge, “Krugman would have to explain to his loyal readers why it wasn’t worth his time to debate for an hour on business cycle theory even though it would mean [thousands of dollars] of right-wing money would then be used to feed hungry New Yorkers.”

As LaSorsa notes, Krugman once debated Ron Paul on Bloomberg TV in April and said he did so to publicize his book -- therefore a higher priority than helping out a non-profit food bank.

Murphy has written books like The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism and the Human Action Study Guide, and his YouTube video in which he explains the "Krugman Debate" can be seen below. 


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