End This Depression Now!
Paul Krugman. Norton, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-08877-9
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%E2%80%94when no new debt is issued, the cycle continues, for one man's debt is another man's asset. Krugman suggests, then, that "the government [must] spend where the private sector won't," %C3%A0 la FDR's workers' programs during the Great Depression. The problem, of course, arises when politics enters the equation%E2%80%94some 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%E2%80%94from the Left to the Right, from the 99% to the 1%. Illus. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012