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by Paul Krugman

Pub Date: April 29th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-393-08877-9
Publisher: Norton

Krugman (Economics/Princeton Univ.; The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008, 2008, etc.) delivers an urgent message on ending the economic crisis.

Despite apparent financial stabilization and indications of improvement, writes the Nobel laureate, the conditions of peoples' lives have not changed. “You can't have prosperity without a functioning financial system,” he writes, “but stabilizing the financial system doesn't necessarily yield prosperity.” The country needs strong leadership to build support for stimulus policies—e.g., large-scale job creation, debt relief and the reversal of current austerities—on a more expansive scale, rather than just accepting compromises. The author takes issue with three main objections: that government spending programs don't work, that increasing deficits undermine business confidence and that there aren't enough quality projects in which to invest. Given that the private sector is not investing enough to provide the needed increase in demand, government spending must be a significant part of the solution. Krugman also examines how the economic profession has lost its way over the last 30 years. For him, the current problems were effectively addressed during the 1930s by Keynes and others; the author doesn’t have much patience with opponents or critics, considering them as representing political or ideological, not economic, views. He references ongoing research by a new generation of economists into how government intervention worked to end depressions in the past.

An important contribution to the current study of economics and a reason for hope that effective solutions will be implemented again.