Princeton 'Pussycat' Wins Nobel
While waiting for a McAfee VirusScan update to download and install, I couldn't really work on my computer this morning, so turned on TV and happened to see Paul Krugman, winner yesterday of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics, interviewed on CNBC. The interviewer seemed actively hostile, and mentioned that news stories about Krugman's being named the 2008 Nobel laureate in economics were filled with mentions of his domestic critics. The interviewer asked why he is the object of such opprobrium. Krugman, who is a professor at Princeton and a columnist for The New York Times, said that he was a very early critic of George Bush (the Younger), at a time when some people (the Radical Right) practically worshipped him and he had an 80% approval rating. He said that now, much of the country has come to his view of Bush, but some people will never forgive him for being right too soon. I know the problem.
I have no pix of Princeton with which to illustrate today's post, but do have some pix of another NJ university, Rutgers-Newark. As you will see, below, this is not as inapt as might at first appear.
Krugman is an unapologetic liberal, which has made him a Public Enemy of the Radical Right. I saw today a clip from 2004 in which Bill O'Reilly misrepresented something Krugman had said and Krugman called him on it with the forthrite sentence, "That's a lie", which infuriated O'Reilly, whose reaction was almost violent: "Don't you call me a liar, pal." Now Krugman has a Nobel. Pal.
Krugman also said that his column is very different from his scholarly work (and some people presumably criticize his work as a columnist, not an economist). The (hostile) interviewer said he doesn't come across as being as hardnosed (stridently liberal) on TV as in his column, and Krugman said he's a pussycat by nature. I think that kind of pussycat is known as a "tiger" (which is appropriate for Princeton). Or perhaps, now, Krugman is the economics version of a literary lion.
Still, I decided to apply to Princeton even tho I fully expected to be turned down (and was sure my family couldn't afford to send me if I were accepted, but I didn't expect that to be a problem), just so I would know for certain, and not be left wondering for the rest of my life, "Could I have gotten in if only I applied?" I settled the question: no, I could not get in. Better to "no" than to wonder.
I was later very angry when a trial lawyer I was working for represented Robert L. Vesco, a notorious looter of a major corporation, IOS (Investors Overseas Services, which my brother had worked for when he was living in Spain), and I discovered that Vesco was trying to buy his son's way into Princeton even tho the son didn't have the grades either. I think that effort failed, and soon thereafter Vesco fled the country and never returned. He died in prison in Cuba. Good. I don't know about the son. He was probably an innocent bystander to his father's crimes, and may not have implored his father to get him into Princeton. But there were many other rich people who were able to buy their kids' way into big-name universities in those days. I'm not persuaded those days are over.
Chartered in 1746 as the College of New Jersey—the name by which it was known for 150 years—Princeton University was British North America's fourth college. Located in Elizabeth for one year and then in Newark for nine, the College of New Jersey moved to Princeton in 1756.We can refer to the university as "Princeton", without "University", because the town is small. If it had stayed in Newark, we couldn't very well just refer to the university as "Newark", but would always have had to call it "... University". There was a Newark University for some years, until it was taken over by Rutgers, to become Rutgers-Newark.
Addressing his theories on economic geography at the press conference, Krugman said, "What is it about the East Coast of the United States that makes 60 million people want to live in this dense metropolitan strip? The answer is it's not something about the coastline -- each of those 60 million people wants to be here because the other 60 million people are here."And where is the geographic center of Megalopolis? Just about exactly at Newark.
Steelwork of addition to 1 Washington Park for Rutgers Business School, seen against backdrop of 15 Washington Street, which is to be converted into housing for married students.The article mentions that two other recent Nobels, for chemistry this year and economics last year, have a Princeton connection. Another Princeton faculty member won the Economics Prize in 2002, and Krugman is the EIGHTH Princeton staffer or alumnus to win the Economics Prize overall!