Texts Prepared for Delivery at Paul Krugman’s Honorary Doctorate by Three Lisbon Universities on 27 February, 2012
FEUNL Working Paper Series No. 566
30 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 4, 2012
Three texts were prepared for delivery at the first honorary doctorate awarded simultaneously by three Lisbon universities on 27 February, 2012: an introduction, a lecture and a comment. The event included the award of member of the Lisbon Academy of Science (ACL) by Manuel Jacinto Nunes, dean of the economics and finance section of ACL who proposed his name and Olivier Blanchard’s on the 30th anniversary of James Tobin receiving an honorary doctorate from Nova University.
On 24 February, Paul Krugman visited ACL and participated in a session of the project dubbed “Letter to the lusofonia Queen”. Since this project is promoted by Nova SBE’s Center for Globalization and Governance and has been featured in some of the graduate courses, a short note on the meeting is included in annex.
On 15 June, the three universities authorized an edition in Portuguese and donated the copyrights to a student award on “Krugman economics”, in a way still to be determined by the editor. The lecture and the comment will be translated as soon as a suitable publisher is found. Since a lot of the teaching at Nova SBE is in English, it seemed appropriate to reproduce the original texts in the order in which they were presented. A lively question and answer period was also recorded by Nova TV and should be made available in the book, together with highlights of the media coverage.
Introduced as a “militant economist”, he speaks about a crisis “his mind loves but does not let the heart forget the poor and the unemployed”. The Nobel prize winner described as a“progressist pessimist of the world economy” concludes with a severe indictment of the profession. “In normal times, when things are going pretty well, the world can function reasonably well without professional economic advice. It’s in times of crisis, when practical experience suddenly proves useless and events are beyond anyone’s normal experience, that we need professors with their models to light the path forward. And when the moment came, we failed”.
The comment, by the official responsible for Paul Krugman’s mission to Portugal in 1976, contains an equally dire prediction: “I would very much like to see in the near future the weakening of the influence not only of freshwater economists but also of their conservative European followers. But I fear that this will not happen until we find ourselves in a more calamitous situation than at present”. Fortunately Silva Lopes closes in the hope “that the ideas of Paul Krugman will soon have more influence in policy makers than at present seems to be the case”.
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