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The New York Times bestseller: the Nobel Prize–winning economist shows how today’s crisis parallels the Great Depression—and explains how to avoid catastrophe. With a new foreword for this paperback edition.
In this major bestseller, Paul Krugman warns that, like diseases that have become resistant to antibiotics, the economic maladies that caused the Great Depression have made a comeback. He lays bare the 2008 financial crisis—the greatest since the 1930s—tracing it to the failure of regulation to keep pace with an out-of-control financial system. He also tells us how to contain the crisis and turn around a world economy sliding into a deep recession. Brilliantly crafted in Krugman’s trademark style—lucid, lively, and supremely informed—this new edition of The Return of Depression Economics has become an instant classic. A hard-hitting new foreword takes the paperback edition right up to the present moment.
As an economist in good standing, writes MIT economist Krugman, I am quite capable of writing things that nobody can read. Fortunately, Krugman, author of Slates Dismal Science column, is also quite capable of writing things that almost anyone can read. An accomplished translator of economics into English, Krugman (Peddling Prosperity; The Accidental Theorist; etc.) takes a look at the international financial turmoil of the past two years and concludes that, confident assertions of happy globalizers and bullish day traders notwithstanding, a great depression could happen again. Depression economics is back, he argues, meaning that for the first time in two generations, failures on the demand side of the economy... have become the clear and present limitation on prosperity for a large part of the world. Whether discussing the currency collapse in Indonesia, the travails of Brazil and Russia (and how theyre related) or the failure of hedge funds such as Long Term Capital Management, Krugman writes with invigorating lucidity and forceful opinion. Now as in the 1930s, however, one cannot defend globalization merely by repeating free-market mantras, even as economy after economy crashes. If his message is dire, his tone is light, almost jaunty as he calls supply-side economics a crank doctrine and ably articulates a Keynsian willingness to regulate markets in order to stabilize economies and minimize human suffering. Moving from concrete examples (e.g., the struggles of a Japanese baby-sitting coop) to stinging critiques of head-in-the-sand theorists, Krugman proves himself not only comprehensible but also well worth comprehending.