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Special 2004 Annual Meeting Supplement

Paul Krugman: The Wicked Economist?

The fourth article in a series highlighting prominent public intellectuals presenting at ASA’s 2004 Annual Meeting in San Francisco

"An Indian born economist once explained his personal theory of reincarnation to his graduate economics class," Paul Krugman writes in the opening paragraph of his Preface to Peddling Prosperity. "'If you are a good economist, a virtuous economist,' he said, 'you are reborn as a physicist. But if you are an evil, wicked economist, you are reborn as a sociologist.'" Krugman then continues, "A sociologist might say that this quote shows what is wrong with economists: they want a subject that is fundamentally about human beings to have the mathematical certainty of the hard sciences . . . . But good economists know that the speaker was talking about something else entirely: the sheer difficulty of the subject. Economics is harder than physics; luckily it is not quite as hard as sociology." (1994:xi)

also in this issue
Why Did Sociologists Go to Atlanta? Who Is Going to San Francisco?

"In an era when much of our communication with colleagues is done through cyberspace, we often forget about the human connections that are made at the Annual Meeting, the serendipitous conversations that provide new insights into one's teaching and research program, and the simple joy of swapping stories over coffee with special friends," wrote ASA Past-President Bill Bielby in his invitation to the 2003 Annual ASA meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Did sociologists go to the Atlanta to see old friends or for some other reason?

ASA Congressional Briefing on Immigration Packs the House

With about 33 million foreign-born persons living in the United States, government policy regarding immigration is not being ignored. This is the reason that the American Sociological Association, in collaboration with six co-sponsoring associations organized a briefing by three distinguished sociologists.

Copyright © 2004 by the American Sociological Association. All rights reserved.