When Nobel Prize Winners Miss a Trick

A strange post by Paul Krugman. I know, I know; that's like saying "water is wet," but this is an especially fascinating case of Krugmanian shortsightedness.

Krugman is commenting on the habit of wealthy New Yorkers to purchase

. . . pied-a-terres in newly fashionable Lower Manhattan. You have to read a bit carefully to realize that these are, for the most part, people with apartments on the Upper East Side; their downtown bolt-holes are to avoid the need to trek uptown after a night out.

Krugman approves of this, because

. . . the truth is that of the various things the wealthy might spend on, this is one of the less offensive; it might even reduce externalities, if people walk back to their downtown hideaways instead of having a limo wait outside the restaurant for hours.

I get the reasoning here. I really do. Krugman believes that if people have second apartments, they will be able to rely less on limousines or other forms of motorized transportation, which means less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which might help solve the global warming problem. But not a thought spared for the poor limo driver who might lose his/her job as a consequence of all of this (even as real estate agents get richer)? And no conception of the possibility that a limo doesn't have to have the engine running while it waits for someone?

You know, it's best to think things through before writing a blog post. Too bad that Krugman often doesn't.