This evening I went to Harvard Square to see an event on Paul Krugman's book tour, for his new book The Great Unraveling. The form of the event was an interview by Christopher Lydon (formerly of The Connection). It went pretty well; it was at the First Parish Church, which was totally packed (I'd estimate 650 people) and somewhat stifling in tonight's heat and humidity.
Mr. Krugman is not as polished at public speaking as some people, and he stumbled a bit, and from my balcony seat it was hard to see him unless I stood up. The interview and the Q&A that followed were mostly stuff that should sound familiar to any regular reader of his work; it was all on current politics rather than economics. It's sensible, since it's the reason why he's become a minor celebrity outside of the world of economics, but I would love to hear something more meaty and technical. There was one good question, wondering about the role that opening foreign markets to US corporations played in setting the administration's foreign policy; his response was that there doesn't seem to be any Grand Corporate Conspiracy, but that individual corporations with the ear of the administration are having influence as individuals. I think the questioner was fishing for some more generic anti-corporate propaganda, and was disappointed by not getting it.
(On the way down from the balcony I was spotted by deberg (you should read electdeberg if you don't already)).
About a sixth of the crowd stuck around to have books signed. Unfortunately, he was not really sociable throughout this process, and was just signing books as quickly as possible. I had wanted to ask him what he considered good resources for learning basic economics (given that I can't just sign up for 14.01), but I didn't get the chance.