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End This Depression Now!by Paul Krugman
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Krugman (Fuzzy Math), winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics, takes an edifying and often humorous journalistic approach to the current economic crisis in this accessible and timely study. Rather than provide a mere postmortem on the 2008 collapse (though relevant history lessons are provided), Krugman aims to plot a path out of this depression. He maintains that 'We are suffering from a severe overall lack of demand;' as every purchase is also a sale, everyone's income is someone's spending , and few are currently spending. This 'paradox of thrift,' when everyone cuts back and tries to pay off old debt at the same time, ensures a stagnant economy — when no new debt is issued, the cycle continues, for one man's debt is another man's asset. Krugman suggests, then, that 'the government spend where the private sector won't,' a la FDR's workers' programs during the Great Depression. The problem, of course, arises when politics enters the equation — some view government intervention as a gateway to socialism, whereas others can't agree on appropriate 'shovel-ready' projects to spend money on. Krugman has consistently called for more liberal economic policies, but his wit and bipartisanship ensure that this book will appeal to a broad swath of readers — from the Left to the Right, from the 99% to the 1%. Illus. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"An important contribution to the current study of economics and a reason for hope that effective solutions will be implemented again." Kirkus Reviews
A call-to-arms from Nobel Prize-winning economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman.
With clear and powerful evidence, House of Debt shows how societyand#8217;s reliance on debt is dangerous and leads to economic disaster. Atif Mian and Amir Sufi compellingly illustrate how debt too easily destroys common borrowersand#8217; net worth, how these borrowers stop spending, and how people lose jobs as a result. Thoroughly grounded in compelling economic evidence, House of Debt offers convincing answers to some of the most important questions facing the modern economy today.
The Great American Recession resulted in the loss of eight million jobs between 2007 and 2009. More than four million homes were lost to foreclosures. Is it a coincidence that the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in household debt in the years before the recessionand#151;that the total amount of debt for American households doubled between 2000 and 2007 to $14 trillion? Definitely not. Armed with clear and powerful evidence, Atif Mian and Amir Sufi reveal in House of Debt how the Great Recession and Great Depression, as well as the current economic malaise in Europe, were caused by a large run-up in household debt followed by a significantly large drop in household spending.
Though the banking crisis captured the publicand#8217;s attention, Mian and Sufi argue strongly with actual data that current policy is too heavily biased toward protecting banks and creditors. Increasing the flow of credit, they show, is disastrously counterproductive when the fundamental problem is too much debt. As their research shows, excessive household debt leads to foreclosures, causing individuals to spend less and save more. Less spending means less demand for goods, followed by declines in production and huge job losses. How do we end such a cycle? With a direct attack on debt, say Mian and Sufi. and#160;More aggressive debt forgiveness after the crash helps, but as they illustrate, we can be rid of painful bubble-and-bust episodes only if the financial system moves away from its reliance on inflexible debt contracts. As an example, they propose new mortgage contracts that are built on the principle of risk-sharing, a concept that would have prevented the housing bubble from emerging in the first place.
Thoroughly grounded in compelling economic evidence, House of Debt offers convincing answers to some of the most important questions facing the modern economy today: Why do severe recessions happen? Could we have prevented the Great Recession and its consequences? And what actions are needed to prevent such crises going forward?
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.
About the Author
Paul Krugman is the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics. He is a best-selling author, columnist, and blogger for the New York Times, and is a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University.
Table of Contents
1. A Scandal in Bohemia
Part I: Busted
2. Debt and Destruction
3. Cutting Back
4. Levered Losses: The Theory
5. Explaining Unemployment
Part II: Boil and Bubble
6. The Credit Expansion
7. Conduit to Disaster
8. Debt and Bubbles
Part III: Stopping the Cycle
9. Save the Banks, Save the Economy?
11. Monetary and Fiscal Policy
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