The recent New Yorker piece on Paul Krugman may have the most beautiful example of an "I got the future so wrong, which is why I'm so right" argument I've ever seen:
Last fall, Krugman wrote an article for the Times Magazine, “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?,” about the profession’s failure to anticipate the financial crisis, and what that revealed about its failings in general. He accused his colleagues of mistaking beauty for truth. They were so enamored of the elegance of their models and the consistency of their logic, he wrote, that they had come to believe that assumptions that were originally adopted merely as tools (perfectly rational individuals, efficient markets) by Milton Friedman’s generation were so sacrosanct that economics wasn’t economics without them. Freshwater types, in particular, had forgotten the Depression, forgotten what Keynes had said about the resemblance of financial markets to casinos. So attached were they to the idea that markets always got things right that some actually suggested that unemployment must be a consequence of workers’ choosing not to work. Saltwater economists were less blinkered in their view of markets and the rationality of investors, Krugman wrote (Larry Summers, a saltwater type, once began a paper on finance by declaring “THERE ARE IDIOTS. Look around”), and had retained a Keynesian view of recessions as crises of insufficient demand. But even saltwater models had no room for such wild imperfections as bubbles and banking-system collapse. “Economists will have to learn to live with messiness,” Krugman concluded.
Reactions to his article were quick and outraged. “Who are these economists who got it so wrong?” a Washington University economist, David Levine, wrote. “Speak for yourself kemo sabe. . . . It makes me feel physically ill that a distinguished economist could be so ignorant of his own profession.” “How sad,” John Cochrane, of the University of Chicago, wrote. “Don’t argue with them, swift-boat them. Find some embarrassing quote from an old interview. Well, good luck, Paul. Let’s just not pretend that this has anything to do with economics.” Levine and Cochrane maintained that the fact that freshwater economists had failed to predict the financial crisis was not an embarrassment to their theories but a confirmation of them: “The central empirical prediction of the efficient markets hypothesis is precisely that nobody can tell where markets are going—neither benevolent government bureaucrats, nor crafty hedge-fund managers, nor ivory-tower academics,” Cochrane wrote. If professional economists failed to predict or understand the crisis, how could it make sense for Krugman to argue that bureaucrats would do a good job of curing it? [emphasis added]
Also, James Galbraith follows up on Krugman with a piece about the ones who did get it right. And this Michael Lewis piece about Wall Streeters who saw it coming is also great (as is everything Lewis writes).