July 2, 2020

Krugman’s Peddling Prosperity is a lucid deconstruction of supply-side economics; a strident (and sensible, as far as I can tell) defense of Keynesian theory after. Krugman’s enfilade against the policy entrepreneurs is strictly bipartisan, but most of his fire is directed against the supply-siders with only a few random shots . Peddling Prosperity. Paul Krugman, Author, Krugman Paul, Author, Krugman, Author W. W. Norton & Company $22 (p) ISBN

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Peddling Peddlign by Paul Krugman. This wonderfully received book finds him in top form, observing the years he’s dubbed “the age of diminished expectations.

They have also been a time of intense economic debate, as rival ideologies contend for policy influence.

But strange things have happened to economic ideas on thei This wonderfully received book finds him in top form, observing the years he’s dubbed “the age of diminished expectations. But strange things have happened to economic ideas on their way to power: Krugman finds an unhappy parallel in those who shape policy within the Clinton administration.

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Peddling Prosperity | W. W. Norton & Company

Mar 27, Aaron Arnold rated it really liked it Shelves: I always feel the same way after I finish one psddling his books: It’s very cliche to compliment someone as “objective” because they “criticize both sides” think of all that fawning praise for South Park back in the day and take a pox-on-both-your-houses attitude towards big issues.

I think that’s dumb, not only because it assumes prosperitg there are only two sides to a debate, and that it’s always somehow possible to take an average of each position and make sense does it really make much sense to invade half of Iraq, or cut income taxes for people whose last names are A-M? That’s exactly what this book is about – criticizing both right-wing proponents of supply-side and Friedmanist monetary theories as well as left-wing proponents of strategic trade theory in a way that illustrates not only why you can’t simply say “let’s split the difference between these theories and call it a compromise”, but also why it’s vital peddoing take the time to think clearly about what people are telling you and whether their numbers add up, and why you can’t always trust people on your “side”.

Peddling Prosperity is very clearly a book aimed at a popular audience, both because most but not all numerical exercises are relegated to the appendix and because it’s structured as a narrative, of the near-mortal wounds that Keynesian economics suffered in the 70s after its triumphs in the postwar era, the rise of potential conservative alternatives, and those alternatives’ eventual failures and the seeming Keynesian resurgence in the early 90s.

It was published inso it’s a bit out of date, but it’s actually very interesting to see echoes of the then-cutting edge worries about Japan krubman transpose them 15 years to the present-day, since most of the debates about government activism, the deficit, and international competitiveness haven’t aged a day. Press releases and popular discussions of issues certainly haven’t gotten any more sophisticated, so it’s somehow still a breath of fresh air to read explanations of trade or productivity that are aimed at a wide audience without being dumbed-down to sound bites.

Virtually every section, if you read closely, follows an A-B-C sort of script: This pattern shows up very frequently in his writing, and this book is no exception. Harsh, but always rigorous discussion of the history and reasoning behind various alternatives to Keynesian economics over the years are backed up by charts, graphs, and most importantly, the models behind these ideas. Part of the reason why stupid notions like endless tax cuts for rich people persist in the world, aside from the obvious self-interested aspect of wealthy donors and lobbyists, is because those notions are sold within a seemingly-plausible framework with a strong narrative: By walking the reader through these implicit models, showing you the data, and giving you the reasons why they’re wrong, Krugman both avoids simply throwing out ad-hominems though there are some barbs in here and gives you a way to think about future claims.


One of the reasons why he has earned such a reputation as a strong liberal is due to prosperiity staunch opposition to the Bush tax cuts in and ; reading the math behind why the Reagan tax cuts failed and, closer to home, why the recent late extension of the Bush cuts will fail utterly to bring prosperityyou become The subtitle coins an excellent phrase which I am surprised has not gained wider currency: While this book was written before the Clinton-era boom had really taken off, I remember growing up in the 90s and thinking of prosperitj as a time of seemingly permanent growth.

Looking from today at the numbers, though – the steady decrease in productivity growth, the increasing inequality, krugmman growing strength of the truly awful movement conservative wing of the Republican Party – I’m amazed at how satisfied people are with such mediocre growth when compared to the global trente glorieuses after the war.

It would be easy to despair at the gradual lowering of the bar, but even during his discussion of massive failures, like the monetarist experiments in Thatcher-era Britain, the emphasis is on the math and logic behind peddllng those policies failed, which prevents the book from sounding too depressing even if the conclusions behind it are plenty depressing. The ending section about the rise of the strategic traders in the Clinton administration is a model of analytical clarity – the presentation of subtle economic logic about how the budget of a national economy is not like that of a company’s balance sheet and all the mischief that that fallacy immediately brings to mind Obama making exactly these mistakes with his Council on Competitiveness, chaired by the CEO of a company that perdling outsourced thousands of jobs and shuffled around billions in taxable income.

So even though the endless recurrence of terrible economic ideas will not end anytime soon, the book offers invaluable perspective on their sources and how to evaluate them. The focus is always on the data, and while Krugman may not always be right his dismissal of critics of Japan’s trade surplus in the 90s sits oddly with his criticism of China’s seemingly very similar trade surplus in the 00s, even given the vastly different economic circumstanceshe gives you all the tools and ammunition you need to form a coherent counter-argument.

Jan 05, G. Branden rated it really liked it. Long-standing animosity between Reich and Krugman see p. That Krugman’s credentials have lately been burnished with a Nobel Prize and his economic prognostications, once mocked with knee-slapping derision by the Bush-fellating Right, have proven prescient, makes me wonder just how far President Obama’s conciliatory, “team of rivals” approach really extends.

An Indian-born economist once explained his personal theory of pedd,ing to his graduate economics class. But if you are an evil, wicked economist, you are reborn as a sociologist. Their argument went as follows: In the face of high unemployment, wages and prices will tend to fall. This fall in wages and prices will increase the real supply of money–that is, the given stock of money in circulation will have steadily rising purchasing power.

And this expansion in the real supply of money will in turn lead to an economic expansion. Keynes did not deny the logic of this so-called classical argument; prodperity was willing to concede that in the long run economic slumps would be self-correcting.

But he regarded this self-correcting process as very slow, and as he pointed out in a widely quoted but rarely understood remark, “In the long run we are all dead. Recessions may eventually cure themselves.

But that’s no more reason to ignore policies that can end them quickly than the fact of eventual mortality is a reason kfugman give up on living. On one hand, nobody gets killed. On the other, unlike real wars, it is almost impossible for anyone to win, since the main losers when a country imposes barriers to trade are not foreign exporters but domestic residents.

In effect, a trade war kkrugman a conflict in which each country uses most of its ammunition to krufman itself in the foot. View all 10 comments. Feb 18, Gill rated it it was amazing. This is a good book for those interested in economic ideas from an economic history standpoint, though it does an admirable job of explaining many economic principles and prosperitu understandings of economic principles.

I perdling this book because it goes beyond the trite debates we have in popularized versions of faulty economic principles: We’re either Keynesian or pro-free markets The way risks to economies and societi This is a good book for those interested in economic ideas from an economic history standpoint, though it does an admirable job of explaining many economic principles and failed understandings of economic principles.


The way risks to economies and societies are managed requires a bit a both government intervention and market principle. Selective application of principles according to the problem at hand, not ideologically.

This benefits corporations, communities, and individuals. What Krugman shows in this book is: How little we actually understand about the way the international economy affects our national economy. How countries can’t be managed Peddlin or AS corporations.

HOw politicians grasp at simplified often wrong economic ideas that fit their ideological orientation rather than any fundamentally-sound economic theory. That there is a clear difference between supply-siders in politics and economic academics that have pointed to some fundamental flaws in old and new Keynesian policies though many of these academics have flawed assumptions about rationality, spontaneous markets, and methodological individualism.

He shows that supply-siders are basically cranks and that peddlijg like Friedman actually made some well thought out critiques, that don’t necessarily need to be, should be, or can be applied within the real world. keugman

The fallacy of protectionism the strategic traders 6. The failure of Reaganomics 7. Krugmaan positive role government can play in American economic life. This is an excellent book for the study and discussion of the s changes in politics and rise of the neoliberal movement though not termed so in Krugman’s book. As another reviewer put it so well, it overcomes the problems of most recent circa economic books produced for prosperify consumption.

Books which usually revolve around three rules: What makes this book so great is its honesty. Krugman, despite being an outspoken liberal, is entirely detached in his examination of policy and concedes a vast number of points that serious conservative economists make, while attacking the snake oil of both the right and left – with the latter condemnation probably being even more severe, probably due to it being more relevant at the time that the book was written.

Parts of it are no longer all that relevant, especially for European readers lik What makes this book so great is its honesty. Parts of it are no longer all that relevant, especially for European readers like myself, but it still makes for a great read and it brilliantly illustrates the kind of trouble that ‘policy entrepeneurs’ – that is, self-confident dilettantes with simplistic and harmful ideas – casue when allowed to influence national policy.

Yet Krugman never makes any fantastic claims.

PEDDLING PROSPERITY by Paul Krugman | Kirkus Reviews

While he is quite rightly frustrated with these hacks, he does indeed admit that their influence, while troublesome and somewhat harmful, is not by any measure catastrophic. It is wonderful to read Krugman, because he truly embodies an academic spirit of detachment and prudency – he explains important concepts to the reader in an honest and simple manner, but without making anything simpler than it should be.

Jan 24, Regina Harders rated it really liked it. Krugman’s intelligence and sense always come shining through–it’s a delight. This book is about earlier economic issues–particularly the rise of the nutty “supply-siders” it was published inbut it is excellent reading as it provides a base from which to understand so much of the economic nonsense still being peddle.

Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations

Jan 22, Lucas rated it really liked it Shelves: Krugman has become more partisan since, but this book is balanced and reasonable. I learned a whole lot about economics from reading this account, and the fact that Krugman writes with incredible clarity is partly responsible.

This book has inspired me to learn more about the subject and that is the best compliment one can give to such a work. Feb 21, Ville Kokko added it Shelves: Sounds compelling, but I can’t even rate it with my lack of background knowledge.

Mar 09, Vipul Vivek rated it liked it. What pain it was to read Krugman blow Galbraith into smithereens! Apr 01, Jeff Keehr rated it liked it. Brief history of modern Economics. Why our economy is stagnate.

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