Paul Krugman Became An Economist To Be Like His Science Fiction Hero

a Cyberman mask from the British BBC science fiction TV series, Doctor WhoA Cyberman mask from the British BBC science fiction TV series, Doctor Who

Photo: AP

Krugman became an economist because of science fiction.In the New Yorker’s 12-page long chronicle of the Nobel Prize-winning economist, we learn that Krugman’s hero is the main character in Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” trilogy, Hari Seldon.

Hari Seldon is a “psychohistorian” who could predict the future because he understood the mechanics of society so well.

Like science fiction, Krugman says economics asks “why.”

“If you read other genres of fiction, you can learn about the way people are and the way society is,” Krugman said to an audience at the 67th world science fiction convention, “but you don’t get very much thinking about why are things the way they are, or what might make them different. What would happen if?”

Krugman says he went to Yale and ended up studying economics because unlike history, economics looked for patterns and rules in the history of events.

Read the full Krugman profile in The New Yorker.

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