“Bad move on my part”

In a September 2008 debate on health care, Paul Krugman asks a question of the audience and gets a surprising answer. I won’t ruin the suspense. Just watch this 30-second segment. Given my experience with my Canadian father’s health care, which I have written about in Making Great Decisions in Business and Life, and given the data on queues in Canada, which the Fraser Institute documents every year, I’m not surprised. Clearly Krugman was.

But here’s what is most striking to me about the 30-second segment: what Krugman says when he finds evidence that contradicts his priors. Krugman says, “Bad move on my part.” In other words, the conclusion he draws is that he made a strategic debating error in calling on the audience to evaluate the Canadian health care system. Now, he could have said that you can’t tell much about the Canadian system by asking 7 people to evaluate it. But, of course, he was quite willing to use that evidence had it gone his way: otherwise, why ask the question? Not quite to the standard of his hero, John Maynard Keynes, of the “When the facts change, I change my mind” quote.

H/T to Jeff Hummel