Hands of a guy on laptop keyboard

A very public tiff on Twitter

Published on 03 July 2012
Updated on 05 April 2024

Meet the players: Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman writes for The Economist and the New York Times columnist. He’s not in favour of austerity measures believing that such programs push depressed economies even deeper into depression

Toomas Hendrik Ilves is President of Estonia. He has taken umbrage at Krugman’s questioning of Estonia’s recent success. Krugman is questioning whether a  a terrible – Depression-level – slump, followed by a significant but still incomplete recovery […] is what passes for economic triumph. Ilves has taken the argument to Twitter.

‘Let’s write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing: after all, they’re just wogs,’ one Tweet reads.

‘Guess a Nobel in trade means you can pontificate on fiscal matters & declare my country a ‘wasteland,’ says another.

And my favourite: ‘But yes, what do we know? We’re just dumb & silly East Europeans. Unenlightened. Someday we too will understand. Nostra culpa.’

According to Reuters, his office has confirmed that these Tweets really did come from the fingertips of the Estonian Head of State. Ilves sends his own Tweents and classes this bout of invective as a sincere and immediate defense of the major and often difficult efforts of Estonia to deal with the economic crisis and to stick to the rules adopted in the European Union.

I can’t help but think whether protocol comes into play? Would I really want my Head of State engaging in such a public dialogue? Am I being old-fashioned and a mite too prudish for Social Media 2012? I wonder.


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