Scott Sumner is triumphant about the April jobs number. Monetarism has apparently now been as good as proven.

Can you imagine someone from the natural sciences putting forward a claim that a rival school (in Sumner's case, Keynesians) had been entirely vanquished on the basis of similar evidence?

Biologist Will Wintner: I have empirical evidence proving the rival school of cancer cell mutation wrong! I am triumphant!

Journal Editor: Ah, so this evidence is from repeated, duplicable laboratory experiments with tight environmental controls?

BWW: Well, no...

JE: Oh, clinical trials, then, dozens of them with hundreds of cases each and well-designed control groups?

BWW: Not exactly...

JE: So what is this evidence?

BWW: Well, I'm pretty sure I saw the mutation happening the way I think it does in nature.

JE: No control group to compare to?

BWW: Nope.

JE: No scientific control of the environment?

BWW: None whatsoever.

JE: Yes, and how many times did you see this happen?

BWW: Just once.

JE facepalms.

NB: My point is not that Sumner is wrong -- I don't know --but that this is going to be really convincing only for those who are already in his camp.


  1. In mild fairness to Scott, I think he is partly just using Krugman's own medicine against him. A bunch of Keynesians in the last few days were saying the current economy disproves market monetarism. So when the better-than-expected jobs number came out, I think Scott was just rubbing it in their faces.

  2. Perhaps the wiley Sumner's humor was too subtle for me.


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