As I know a thing or two about helicopter money, I like to help out when people have misconceptions about it. American economics professor Brad DeLong recently accused Claudio Borio, Piti Disyatat, Anna Zabai1 of manufacturing objections against helicopter money on his blog and on Twitter. I reacted to the tweet of DeLong, pointing out that Borio et al. had raised a valid point.
When I checked back to see if DeLong had replied, it turned out that he had blocked me. As I am new to Twitter, I thought that maybe I was blocked because DeLong received too many messages from me.
Therefore I left a comment on his blog, pointing out his mistake.
But this comment was promptly deleted.
Because my comment was short, relevant and respectful, I started looking online if others had experienced this kind of behavior from DeLong. Some Google searches quickly turned up a lot of similar stories:
So on the one hand, Brad DeLong deletes critical comments from his blog. Comments agreeing with him, or crazy/wrong comments, make it through his censorship. This gives readers of his blog the impression that DeLong is an all-knowing genius, and that those who disagree with him are idiots.
On the other hand, DeLong uses glowing adjectives for some people, like “the very sharp Nick Rowe” or “extremely wise Dani Rodrik”, signaling that he is a generous person who gives credit to others.
I feel sorry for his students if he behaves this way in the classroom. Shutting down discussion and suppressing dissent are not acceptable for somebody pretending to be an academic.
DeLong’s pathetic manipulative behavior demonstrates quite some status anxiety. As Donald Trump2 would say: sad!