Academics in catfight over Obama race jibe
SCOTLAND'S most controversial historian has become embroiled in a race row with a Nobel Prize winner over comments he made about President Barack Obama.
In a newspaper article on Obama's leadership earlier this month, Niall Ferguson, a Glaswegian academic who is now professor of history at Harvard University in the US, compared the president to the cartoon character Felix the Cat.
Ferguson wrote: "Felix was not only black, he was also very, very lucky. And that pretty much sums up the 44th president of the US."
The comments provoked fury from Professor Paul Krugman, who won the Nobel Prize for economics last year, and who has been feuding with Ferguson since they clashed over monetary policy in a public debate in New York in April.
On 12 August, Krugman, on his blog, insisted he was flabbergasted by the comparison between Obama and Felix."I cannot fathom the state of mind that led Ferguson to think this was a good way to introduce a column; admittedly, it doesn't really distract from his larger point, since as far as I can tell he doesn't have one," he blogged. When Ferguson tried to post a response, Krugman blasted: "He's a whiner, too."
Asked by Ferguson to clarify whether he thought his views racist, Krugman added, on 17 August: "For the record, I don't think that Professor Ferguson is a racist. I think he's a poseur."
Observers said the New York debate between Krugman, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton and Centenary professor at London School of Economics, and Ferguson descended into a row over the US issuing Treasury bonds to inject money into financial markets.
Ferguson said interest rates would go up as a result, with Krugman groaning "dramatically".
Two days later, Krugman cited Ferguson's views in his blog as "further confirmation we're living in a Dark Age of macroeconomics".
Ferguson, who presented The Ascent of Money on Channel 4, then sniped: "I do not need lessons about the General Theory. But I think perhaps Mr Krugman would benefit from a refresher course."
Krugman then claimed Ferguson "hasn't bothered to understand the basics. It's all style, no comprehension of substance."
The New York Magazine said: "We do wish they'd stop bickering. Ferguson should get on a plane, come over and finish this thing like a man – by which we mean give Krugman a massive wedgie."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east