The two leading economic voices spoke out on the topics of inflation, monetary policy, the role of the Federal Reserve and more on Bloomberg Television's Street Smart program. [Scroll down to watch the video]
The joint interview, dubbed Paul vs. Paul, pitted Ron Paul, the libertarian Texas Congressman who is the only official remaining GOP primary alternative to Mitt Romney, against Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist.
The match-up was a classic showdown of conservatism vs. liberalism, with Ron Paul representing the government-shrinking libertarian contingent, while Paul Krugman spoke for the left-wing viewpoint that advocates increasing government spending in order to boost the floundering economy.
Ron Paul had the first go in the exchange, answering the interviewers inquiry about what he finds wrong with Paul Krugman's views on the economy and government:
He believes in big government, from what I read and hear, and I believe in very small government. I emphasize personal liberties. I don't like a managed economy, whether it's through central economic planning, or monetary policy, or even if Congress is doing it, so it's a completely different philosophy that markets are supposed to work, you know, in a natural way, Ron Paul explained.
I want a natural rate of interest, I don't want the government or the Federal Reserve fixing the rate of interest, that's a price fixing, and wage and wage and price controls never work, so pricing the cost of money doesn't work either.
Paul Krugman retorted with his own critique of Ron Paul's policies and his criticisms:
History tells us that in fact a completely unmanaged economy is subject to extreme volatility, subject to extreme downturns. I know there's this legend that people like, probably you Congressman, have that the Great Depression was somehow caused by the govt, caused by the Federal Reserve, but it's not true. The reality is that was a market economy run amok, which happens, happened repeatedly over the past couple of centuries, Paul Krugman said.
I want the market economy to be left as free as it can be, but there need to be limits. You do need the government to step in to stabilize. Depressions are a bad thing for capitalism, and it's the role of the government to make sure that they don't happen or if they do happen that they don't last too long.
The conversation then turns to a discussion of inflation, in which Ron Paul states that he believes putting an emphasis controlling inflation is very important if America wants to regain its economic strength and avoid going the way of the Roman Empire, which he says eventually devalued its currency to a level that was unsustainable after ignoring inflation for too long.
Paul Krugman, on the other hand, has long stated that getting the economic machine of America back running while allowing inflation to rise to a level slightly higher than it is today would be the most responsible course of action, rather than listening to inflation hawks who he says are focusing on the same wrong issues in a down economy today as U.S. leaders did during the Great Depression.
The pair go on to argue about the ideas of Milton Friedman, one of the architects of libertarian economic policy, as well as the pair's diverging views on the impacts of increasing government spending and allowing inflation to rise during a depression or recession.
Watch the video below in order to hear the rest of the highly interesting points Ron Paul and Paul Krugman made Monday in their first televised debate: