For what, exactly?
Predicting since 2000 there was a "housing bubble" that was soon to burst? Jeez, talk about common knowledge and a broken clock being right two times a day...
More likely this prize - like most Nobels - has much less to do with expertise in his field of knowledge than his relentless, partisan Bush-bashing over the last eight years. That's what those judges are really looking for; just ask Nobel "winner" Al Gore....
How poor is this selection? You are talking about a columnist admonished by his own paper's ombudsman:
In his May 22, 2005 farewell column, New York Times ombudsman Daniel Okrent stated: "Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults." Okrent did not initially provide specific examples for his view, but a few days later was drawn from retirement into an email back-and-forth with Krugman wherein he listed several specific instances, publicly hosted by the new ombudsman's column....
More, from other media outlets:
A November 13, 2003 article in The Economist reads: "A glance through his past columns reveals a growing tendency to attribute all the world's ills to George Bush…Even his economics is sometimes stretched…Overall, the effect is to give lay readers the illusion that Mr Krugman's perfectly respectable personal political beliefs can somehow be derived empirically from economic theory."
Krugman, and economics vs. politics? No contest, and that's what the judges love:
Economist Daniel B. Klein published during 2008 a paper in Econ Journal Watch that reviews and criticizes Krugman's columns for the New York Times. Klein contends that Krugman's "social-democratic impetus sometimes trumps people's interests, notably poor people's interests... Krugman has almost never come out against extant government interventions, even ones that expert economists seem to agree are bad, and especially so for the poor."
Some great quotes from the Nobel Prize winner:
"Real economists don't talk about competitiveness."
"If you want a simple model for predicting the unemployment rate in the United States over the next few years, here it is: It will be what Greenspan wants it to be, plus or minus a random error reflecting the fact that he is not quite God."
"I predict that in the years ahead Enron, not Sept. 11, will come to be seen as the greater turning point in U.S. society."
When asked to define the economic policy of the Bush administration: "There is no economic policy. That's really important to say. The general modus operandi of the Bushies is that they don't make policies to deal with problems. They use problems to justify things they wanted to do anyway. So there is no policy to deal with the lack of jobs. There really isn't even a policy to deal with terrorism. It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do."
And this says it all - glowingly, of course - from NBC's Dateline:
"Until the emergence of Democrat leader John Kerry, Paul Krugman had virtually become the leader of the opposition in America, an unusual position for an academic economist."
An opposition leader against Bush! Let's give him a Nobel prize!
Yassir Arafat, Dhimmi Jimmy Carter, and Al Gore. Nice company you're joining there, Paul. Can't say you don't belong...
InstaPundit has a poll, in case you are so inclined...