by Mario Rizzo
Recently Niall Ferguson wrote an interesting op-ed piece for the Financial Times about a debate of sorts he has been having with Paul Krugman on the spike in long-term interest rates and its relation to the large debt the U.S. Treasury must finance.
In the course of that article Ferguson described Krugman’s attitude toward him (and his knowledge of economics) as de haut en bas. Although my poor French is good enough to know what this means, I still decided to check it out in The Oxford Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases. What I found was partly expected. Literally, it means “from above to below” or, in effect, “condescendingly.” But the really interesting part is the example of use the dictionary gave:
1995 Spectator Maynard Keynes…had a very de haut en bas view that he knew best what forms of culture should be supported (opera and ballet)…
Shall we say that the apple never falls far from the tree?