Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations (Norton Paperback) ペーパーバック – 1995/4/1
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This wonderfully received book finds him in top form, observing the years he's dubbed "the age of diminished expectations." The past twenty years have been an era of economic disappointment in the United States. 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 their way to power: they've been hijacked by policy entrepreneurseconomic snake-oil salesmen, right or left, who offer easy answers to hard problems. Supply-siders rose to power with Ronald Reagan and not only cured nothing but left behind a $3 trillion debt. Krugman finds an unhappy parallel in those who shape policy within the Clinton administration.
Paul Krugman, recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics and best-selling author, has been a columnist at The New York Times for twenty years. A Distinguished Professor at City University of New York, he resides in New York City.
Such that I never paid Krugman much attention until he won that Nobel prize. Sure, I had read a couple of his NYT articles, but I didn't realize how well-respected he was academically until then. After Stockholm made its announcement, I decided to read a few of his books carefully -- to see what I was missing.
"Peddling Prosperity" is the second Krugman book I've read so far. It's very good. Krugman has a gift for explaining complicated ideas in a homely and memorable way. But I guess that's why he makes so much money.
Though this book can be characterized as an overall primer on macroeconomics, its major thrust is exploring what went wrong with productivity growth after 1973. It's an analysis of the problem paced in a leisurely enough way that you end up getting a lot of very useful background on the subject, although the book really goes nowhere and essentially concludes with Krugman admitting "we still don't know." But listening to his musings will improve you despite that admission.
The real problem with this book is that it sorely needs a second edition. It came out in 1994, before the productivity gains of the internet hit, before the Clinton surpluses, before the Bushian twin deficits, and, well, a lot else.
It's still very readable, and its merits far outweigh this shortcoming, but I wish Krugman would update it. About 20% or so of the text is totally useless by this point.
I think he's on to other things by this point, though.
Krugman has great humor and style here. The book is basically told as a story that is organized chronologically. He talks of the Keynesian revolution in economics, then the attack on Keynes by monetarists, then the emergence of supply side economics, then the revival of Keynesian economics, then the emergence of strategic trade policy.
For those who have a good knowledge of economics, the humorous and stylistic presentation here makes it more entertaining than the usual dry economics. This book can be read in a day.