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Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectationsby Paul Krugman
Synopses & Reviews
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. Above all, they have been the age of the policy entrepreneur — the economic snake-oil salesman, right or left, who offers easy answers to hard problems. It started with the conservative economists — Milton Friedman at their head — who made powerful arguments against activist government that had liberals on the defensive for many years. Yet when Ronald Reagan brought conservatism to power, it was in the name not of serious thinkers but of the supply-siders, whose ideas were cartoon-like in their simplicity. And when the dust settled, it was clear that the supply-side treatment not only had cured nothing, but had left behind a $3 trillion bill. Meanwhile, the intellectual pendulum had swung. In the 1980s, even while conservatives ruled in Washington, economic ideas that justified government activism were experiencing a strong revival. But the liberals, it turns out, have their own supply-siders: the strategic traders, whose simplistic vision of a U.S. economy locked in win-lose competition with other countries proved far more appealing to politicians than less-dramatic truth. And it seems all too likely that the new patent medicine will do as much harm as the previous one. In this provocative book, Paul Krugman traces the swing of the ideological pendulum, from left to right and back again, and the strange things that happen to economic ideas on their way to power.
"In ten lively chapters, Krugman traces how loose economic thinking has repeatedly led to wrongheaded government policies. In the process, he offers the best primer around on recent US economic history." Newsweek
Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations
hailed Paul Krugman as "a superstar among economists" and went on to praise as "the best primer around on recent U.S. economic history." Others joined the chorus.
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 entrepreneurs--economic 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.
About the Author
Paul Krugman is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University.
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