Paul Krugman

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A Nobel prizewinner in economics whose NY Times columns and blog entries have been spot on for more than a decade.


101 Boosterism [More...]
"The point is that just because Econ 101 makes a smart, counterintuitive point doesn’t make that point of central importance, here or elsewhere. People should know what’s in the textbook; above all, they should buy my book! But never imagine that it’s the be-all and end-all of what matters."
A Protectionist Moment? [More...]
Skip past the comments about Bernie Sanders to the important part, where Paul Krugman points out that "much of the elite defense of globalization is basically dishonest".
Adam Smith Hates Bitcoin [More...]
"[...] people think it’s smart, nay cutting-edge, to create a sort of virtual currency whose creation requires wasting real resources in a way Adam Smith considered foolish and outmoded in 1776."
Amazon’s Monopsony Is Not O.K. [More...]
As the major wholesale buyer of books (and especially ebooks), Amazon has huge monopsony power over publishers. It abuses that power, ultimately hurting authors and readers.
America’s Taxation Tradition [More...]
Taxation to prevent an undemocratic distribution of wealth is an American, progressive-era invention which had enormous support.
Bodyguard of Zombies, Counterattack by Cockroaches [More...]
Paul Krugman points out: "Today's right wing never gives up on a politically convenient argument, no matter how thoroughly it may have been refuted by analysis and evidence. It may downplay that argument for a while -- though often even that doesn’t happen -- but it always comes back." It's true of libertarianism too.
Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman school Tyler Cowen (15 links)
Tyler Cowen criticized IS-LM to undermine rival economists' arguments. Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman explain why such criticisms are foolish even if true -- because there is no real substitute for starting with IS-LM. Ignoring IS-LM leads to serious errors.
Bubble, Bubble, Fraud and Trouble [More...]
"So is Bitcoin a giant bubble that will end in grief? Yes. But it’s a bubble wrapped in techno-mysticism inside a cocoon of libertarian ideology. "
Bully for the Baltics? [More...]
Paul Krugman slaps down Tyler Cowen hard for repeatedly claiming that Ireland's recent performance is evidence against Keynesianism.
Capitalism, Socialism, and Unfreedom [More...]
Minimal government doesn’t remove power from our lives
Charlatans, Cranks and Kansas [More...]
Paul Krugman takes the Kochtopus' ALEC to task for promoting long-discredited Supply-Side Economics policies. "And most of ALEC’s efforts are directed, not surprisingly, at privatization, deregulation, and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy."
Conservative Intellectuals: Follow the Money [More...]
Libertarians are conservatives in terms of property, distinguished only by dislike of government. Their ideas, funded by plutocrats, are wrong because "because being wrong in the right way has always been a financially secure activity."
Discredited ideas [More...]
Libertarians have at one time or another adopted every erroneous view to avoid Keynsianism: Austrianism, Structuralism, Treasury View and Monetarism (Milton Friedman). All four have been refuted by history.
Economic Realism (Wonkish) [More...]
A discussion of how realistic economic models should be, and for what purpose. Includes a good criticism of Milton Friedman.
Errors and Emissions: Could Fighting Global Warming Be Cheap and Free? [More...]
The idea that economic growth and climate action are incompatible may sound hardheaded and realistic, but it’s actually a fuzzy-minded misconception. If we ever get past the special interests and ideology that have blocked action to save the planet, we’ll find that it’s cheaper and easier than almost anyone imagines.
Fighting the Last Macro War? (Slightly Wonkish) [More...]
Real Business Cycle Theory did well with the stagflation crisis, but didn't help with disinflation, the financial crisis or the persistently depressed economy.
Franklin Delano Obama? [More...]
"Now, there’s a whole intellectual industry, mainly operating out of right-wing think tanks, devoted to propagating the idea that F.D.R. actually made the Depression worse. So it’s important to know that most of what you hear along those lines is based on deliberate misrepresentation of the facts."
G.O.P. Monetary Madness [More...]
Paul Krugman points out how incredibly wrong the predictions of Ron Paul and Austrian Economics have been about the tripling of the monetary base.
Greg Mankiw and the Gatsby Curve [More...]
While Greg Mankiw is a conservative, his economics position is often repeated by libertarians. Three lines of critique against justification of the one percent plus Paul Krugman's take on historical change.
Growth Versus Distribution: Hunger Games [More...]
"[...] we don’t actually know much about how to produce rapid economic growth -- conservatives may think they know (low taxes and all that), but there is no evidence to back up their certainty. And on the other hand, we know how to make a big difference to income distribution, especially how to reduce extreme poverty."
HearSay Economics [More...]
"[...] the fallacy Keynes called Say’s Law was and is a powerful force in economic discourse, seriously hampering our ability to respond rationally to economic troubles."
High Plains Moochers [More...]
"It’s true that some of the people profiting from implicit taxpayer subsidies manage, all the same, to convince themselves and others that they are rugged individualists. But they’re actually welfare queens of the purple sage."
How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? [More...]
Paul Krugman explains how the fresh-water economists systematically rejected Keynes and made other errors.
How To Debate Paul Krugman [More...]
Numerous anti-Krugman arguments are eviscerated
How to Get It Wrong [More...]
Paul Krugman says: "Mammon knows that economics needs rethinking in the wake of a disastrous crisis, a crisis that was neither predicted nor prevented. It seems to me, however, that it’s important to realize that the enormous intellectual failure of recent years took place at several levels."
How to win arguments by pretending to be a simpleton [More...]
Noah Smith explains why Hans Hermann-Hoppe's method of criticizing Paul Krugman is really just trolling. And how HHH could really know better just by reading one or two papers.
In Praise of the DMV [More...]
"The point is that the vision of hopeless government isn’t grounded in personal experience, let alone data. At this point it’s a cultural cliche, or a projection by people who read Atlas Shrugged in their teens and never grew up."
Inequality Is a Drag [More...]
"But American inequality has become so extreme that it’s inflicting a lot of economic damage. And this, in turn, implies that redistribution -- that is, taxing the rich and helping the poor -- may well raise, not lower, the economy’s growth rate."
Krugman Discovers Intellectual Property: The 1 Percent are the Takers [More...]
"[...] we spend $340 billion a year on drugs, more than 2 percent of GDP ($295 billion on prescription drugs, $45 billion on non-prescription drugs). We would probably spend about one-tenth this amount in the absence of patent protection."
Hive-minds and Kleptocrats [More...]
Paul Krugman cites some of the history of explaining corporations as inhuman. He points out that they are still often used as tools by kleptocratic humans such as the Koch brothers.
Liberty, Equality, Efficiency (2 links)
Inequality of outcome is a drag on economic growth according to recent studies by the IMF. "In short, what’s good for the 1 percent isn’t good for America. And we don’t have to keep living in a new Gilded Age if we don’t want to."
Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies [More...]
Paul Krugman debunks 10 common conservative lies about taxes that libertarians have frequently used as well.
Medicaid on the Ballot [More...]
Milton Friedman, Unperson [More...]
Paul Krugman points out that Friedman's two major contributions to macroeconomics now seem unsupportable. "So Friedman has vanished from the policy scene -- so much so that I suspect that a few decades from now, historians of economic thought will regard him as little more than an extended footnote."
Oligarchy, American Style [More...]
Paul Krugman points out the disinformation about income inequality from the hirelings of the wealthy, and sets the record straight.
Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations (book)
Phosphorus and Freedom: The Libertarian Fantasy [More...]
Is libertarian economics at all realistic? The answer is no. And the reason can be summed up in one word: phosphorus.
Pop Internationalism (book)
Rethinking International Trade (book)
Singapore Is The New Chile [More...]
The Chilean retirement privatization was reversed very quickly, making it more like Social Security. Likewise, supposedly free-market health care in Singapore is becoming more like Obamacare.
Sympathy for the Trustafarians [More...]
Paul Krugman ridicules Greg Mankiw for arguments defending plutocracy by ignoring opportunity costs and undermining of democracy.
The Age of Diminished Expectations (book)
The Anti-Scientific Revolution in Macroeconomics
Paul Krugman reviews "the remarkable extent to which powerful groups, including a fair number of economists, have rejected intellectual progress [such as Keynesianism] because it disturbs their ideological preconceptions."
The Dismal Science: 'Seven Bad Ideas,' by Jeff Madrick [More...]
Paul Krugman's synopsis and mild suggestions about "an important and broadly accurate story about what went wrong. Economists presented as reality an idealized vision of free markets, dressed up in fancy math that gave it a false appearance of rigor. As a result, the world was unprepared when markets went bad."
The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century (book)
The Hangover Theory: Are recessions the inevitable payback for good times? [More...]
Call it the overinvestment theory of recessions, or "liquidationism," or just call it the "hangover theory." It is the idea that slumps are the price we pay for booms, that the suffering the economy experiences during a recession is a necessary punishment for the excesses of the previous expansion... hangover theory is disastrously wrongheaded.
The Incompetence Dogma [More...]
The enemies of Obamacare made at least six distinct predictions about how Obamacare would fail -- every one of which turned out to be wrong.
The Inflation Obsession [More...]
Paul Krugman about the Great Recession: "What’s really striking is the extent to which they were obsessed with the wrong thing. The economy was plunging, yet all many people at the Fed wanted to talk about was inflation."
The Simple Analytics of Soaking the Rich [More...]
Why it makes sense (with standard microeconomics) to tax the rich more heavily, even if they were job creators.
The Unfreeing of American Workers [More...]
"You might say, with only a bit of hyperbole, that workers in America, supposedly the land of the free, are actually creeping along the road to serfdom, yoked to corporate employers the way Russian peasants were once tied to their masters’ land."
The War Over Poverty [More...]
Paul Krugman points out that the war on poverty has been a huge success with important long-term effects when you look at the data. And that "the problem of poverty has become part of the broader problem of rising income inequality, of an economy in which all the fruits of growth seem to go to a small elite, leaving everyone else behind."
This Age of Derp [More...]
Paul Krugman explains why (at this time) predictions of high inflation when the Federal Reserve "prints money" are examples of derp.
Three Expensive Milliseconds [More...]
The finance industry is hugely wasteful, perhaps wasting 2 percent of GDP. Side effects also include suckering small investors, increasing inequality and destabilizing markets.
Transaction Costs and Tethers: Why I’m a Crypto Skeptic [More...]
Trump Killed the Pax Americana [More...]
"You see, American dominance represented a new form of superpower hegemony... we weren’t a crude exploiter, pillaging other countries for our own gain. The Pax Americana arguably dated from the enactment of the Marshall Plan in 1948; that is, from the moment when a conquering nation chose to help its defeated foes rebuild rather than demanding that they pay tribute."
Varieties of Error [More...]
Paul Krugman points out that Austrian models incorrectly predicted hyperinflation, but that Austrian economists have not shown any evidence of admitting their errors or rethinking their models.
Wealth Over Work [More...]
"It seems safe to say that “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the magnum opus of the French economist Thomas Piketty, will be the most important economics book of the year -- and maybe of the decade." Paul Krugman's review.
What Did the Romans Ever Do for Us? [More...]
"The Pax Americana, the three generations of relative peace and prosperity that followed World War II,... has been held together mainly by soft power rather than violence. Even when America was an overwhelmingly dominant economic and military power, it generally exercised restraint, getting its allies to buy in to our system rather than resorting to raw compulsion.
What Markets Will [More...]
Paul Krugman skeptically examines claims of the will of the market, and finds many false claims. "For the truth is that when people talk about what markets demand, what they’re really doing is trying to bully us into doing what they themselves want."
Who Was Milton Friedman [More...]
Paul Krugman reviews three roles. The third (section 4), is "Friedman the ideologue, the great popularizer of free-market doctrine." "Friedman’s effectiveness as a popularizer and propagandist rested in part on his well-deserved reputation as a profound economic theorist."
Who Was Milton Friedman? [More...]
Paul Krugman reviews three roles.
Why We Fight Wars [More...]
Paul Krugman: "If you’re a modern, wealthy nation, however, war — even easy, victorious war — doesn’t pay. And this has been true for a long time." Except some profit in the military-industrial complex.
Zombie ideas and zombie industries [More...]
"As I noted, the Fund put U.S. fossil fuel subsidies at more than $600 billion, or more than $3 million for each worker in the industry... But it does look as if much — if not most — of the fossil fuel sector survives only because it receives outrageously large subsidies." [This might explain the success of Charles and David Koch.]


But it’s also true that much of the elite defense of globalization is basically dishonest: false claims of inevitability, scare tactics (protectionism causes depressions!), vastly exaggerated claims for the benefits of trade liberalization and the costs of protection, hand-waving away the large distributional effects that are what standard models actually predict[...]Furthermore, as Mark Kleiman sagely observes, the conventional case for trade liberalization relies on the assertion that the government could redistribute income to ensure that everyone wins — but we now have an ideology utterly opposed to such redistribution in full control of one party[....]
Paul Krugman, "A Protectionist Moment?"
[A blind spot]... a simply weird refusal to acknowledge the huge role played by money and monetary incentives promoting bad ideas.
Paul Krugman, "Conservative Intellectuals: Follow the Money"
Normally, conservatives extol the magic of markets and the adaptability of the private sector, which is supposedly able to transcend with ease any constraints posed by, say, limited supplies of natural resources. But as soon as anyone proposes adding a few limits to reflect environmental issues -- such as a cap on carbon emissions -- those all-capable corporations supposedly lose any ability to cope with change.
Paul Krugman, "Crazy Climate Economics"
Now, there’s a whole intellectual industry, mainly operating out of right-wing think tanks, devoted to propagating the idea that F.D.R. actually made the Depression worse. So it’s important to know that most of what you hear along those lines is based on deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.
Paul Krugman, "Franklin Delano Obama?"
It’s always worth remembering that when it comes to health care, it’s the private sector, not government programs, that suffers from stifling, costly bureaucracy.
Paul Krugman, "Medicaid on the Ballot"
So how do you do useful economics? In general, what we really do is combine maximization-and-equilibrium as a first cut with a variety of ad hoc modifications reflecting what seem to be empirical regularities about how both individual behavior and markets depart from this idealized case. [...] But here’s the thing: economists have done their work this way for generations. So it’s really not a new paradigm. If anything, the true new paradigm was the attempt to justify everything with maximization and equilibrium -- but that’s the paradigm that failed.
Paul Krugman, "Paradigming Is Hard"
Medicare has its problems -- but all the evidence says that it is substantially more cost-effective than private insurance. Partly this is because it has lower administrative costs; partly it’s because Medicare is able to use its market power to negotiate lower prices. And the international evidence is overwhelming: single-payer systems are much cheaper than systems centered on private insurance.
Paul Krugman, Joe Lieberman’s Plan to Make Health Care Worse and More Expensive
What’s curious is that conservative economists are well aware of the danger of “regulatory capture”, in which public institutions are hijacked by vested interests, yet blithely dismiss (or refuse even to mention) the essentially equivalent problem of democratic institutions hijacked by concentrated wealth. I take regulatory capture quite seriously; but I take plutocratic capture equally seriously.
Paul Krugman, "Sympathy for the Trustafarians"
Why do people on the right hate monetary expansion, even when it’s desperately needed? One answer is the power of truthiness -- Stephen Colbert’s justly famed term for things that aren’t true, but feel true to some people. “The Fed is printing money, printing money leads to inflation, and inflation is always a bad thing” is a triply untrue statement, but it feels true to a lot of people. And, yes, a tendency to prefer truthiness to more complicated truth is and pretty much always has been associated with political conservatism, and this tendency is especially strong in an era when leading politicians get their monetary theory from Ayn Rand novels.
Paul Krugman, "The Deflation Caucus"
Adam Smith used the phrase “invisible hand” only once in “The Wealth of Nations,” and he probably didn’t mean to say what most people now think he said. But never mind: Today the phrase is almost always used to mean the proposition that market economies can be trusted to get everything, or almost everything, right without more than marginal government intervention. Is this belief well grounded in theory and evidence? No.
Paul Krugman, "The Dismal Science: 'Seven Bad Ideas,' by Jeff Madrick"
"Austrian theory" of the business cycle -- a theory that I regard as being about as worthy of serious study as the phlogiston theory of fire.
Paul Krugman, "The Hangover Theory: Are recessions the inevitable payback for good times?"
There are some men -- it’s almost always men -- who become enraged at any suggestion that they must give up something they want for the common good. Often, the rage is disproportionate to the sacrifice: for example, prominent conservatives suggesting violence against government officials because they don’t like the performance of phosphate-free detergent. But polluter’s rage isn’t about rational thought.
Paul Krugman, "The Id That Ate the Planet"
Free-market fundamentalists prefer rejecting science to admitting that there are ever cases when government regulation is necessary.
Paul Krugman, "The Id That Ate the Planet"