End This Depression Now!

End This Depression Now!

Paul Krugman

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0393345084

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A New York Times best-selling call to arms from Nobel Prize–winning economist Paul Krugman.

The Great Recession is more than four years old―and counting. Yet, as Paul Krugman points out in this powerful volley, "Nations rich in resources, talent, and knowledge―all the ingredients for prosperity and a decent standard of living for all―remain in a state of intense pain."

How bad have things gotten? How did we get stuck in what now can only be called a depression? And above all, how do we free ourselves? Krugman pursues these questions with his characteristic lucidity and insight. He has a powerful message for anyone who has suffered over these past four years―a quick, strong recovery is just one step away, if our leaders can find the "intellectual clarity and political will" to end this depression now.

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they managed to shift economic debate away from jobs and toward the alleged threat from the deficit—a threat that, as explained in chapter 8, was always a figment of their imagination. (As Keynesians predicted, U.S. borrowing costs have remained at historic lows despite high debt and large deficits.) But the actual move toward austerity in America has been relatively modest, coming mainly from cutbacks at the state and local level. The United States, in other words, has managed to avoid the

An ad hoc rescue cobbled together by Federal Reserve officials averted disaster in 1998, but the event should have served as a warning, an object lesson in the dangers of out-of-control finance. (I got some of this into the original, 1999 edition of The Return of Depression Economics, where I drew parallels between the LTCM crisis and the financial crises then sweeping through Asia. In retrospect, however, I failed to see just how broad the problem was.) But the lesson was ignored. Right up to

the answer is yes—but very few of the top 1 percent, or even the top 0.01 percent, made their money that way. For the most part, we’re looking at executives at firms that they didn’t themselves create. They may own a lot of stock or stock options in their companies, but they received those assets as part of their pay package, not by founding the business. And who decides what goes into their pay packages? Well, CEOs famously have their pay set by compensation committees appointed by . . . the

prices were rising 4 percent a year instead of 2 percent? The answer, according to most economists who have tried to put a number to it, is that the costs would be minor. Very high inflation can impose large economic costs, both because it discourages the use of money—pushing people back toward a barter economy—and because it makes planning very difficult. Nobody wants to minimize the horrors of a Weimar type of situation in which people use lumps of coal for money, and in which both long-term

and, 74–75, 74, 76–77, 96 2008 financial crisis and, 82, 83 income security, 120–21, 120 in depression of 2008–, 210 inflation, 53, 147, 149 conspiracy theories about, 160–61 core, 157–58, 161 costs of, 162 CPI and, 156–57 in depression of 2008–, 151–52, 156–57, 159–61, 189, 227 desirability of moderately high rate of, 161–65 Europe and, 180, 185, 186 fear of, 149, 150–65, 180, 203 Federal Reserve and, 161, 217, 219, 227 hyper-, 150, 162 inertia in, 158–59 measurement of, 156–59

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