Paul Krugman at war with Niall Ferguson over inflation

Matthew Lynn in the Times of London:

ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 25 15.48 One of them is a “poseur”. The other is “patronising”. One suffers from “verbal diarrhoea”. The other is a “whiner”.

A bust-up on the set of High School Musical 4 perhaps? A scrap behind the catwalk at a Milan fashion show? No. Those accusations were slung round in an increasingly bitter public row between two of the world’s most distinguished commentators on global finance and economics, professors Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson, of Princeton and Harvard, respectively.

It started as an argument about bond prices. But last week it blew up into a row about racism, printing money, spending our way out of recession, and the fate of the global economy.

Academic spats can, of course, be famously catty. Ludwig Wittgenstein once tossed a poker at his fellow philosopher Karl Popper at a meeting of the Cambridge Moral Science Club as they argued about whether issues in philosophy were real or just linguistic puzzles. At least Krugman and Ferguson haven’t come to blows yet, although at their next meeting it might be better to hide the blunt instruments. Still, it is a long time since the academic world witnessed a dispute as gladiatorial as this one.

More here. [Photo shows Niall Ferguson.]