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randwolf

The Great Unravelling



This is the most recent collection of Paul Krugman columns. Paul Krugman, for those of you who have been hiding under a tub for the past three years, is an economist, a professor at Princeton, and a New York Times op-ed columnist, one of the few widely read critics of the W. Bush administration.

The book is a collection of his New York Times columns, loosely organized into topics. By and large, the book is professorial in style; Econ 101. Even when Krugman is sharply critical, he's more inclined to explanation than vituperation. But there is plenty to criticize. Whether it's social security privatization proposals that will leave many of our middle-aged citizens impoverished in old age ("2 – 1 = 4"), Enronomics, or just plain political lies, there's a great deal critical here, and a few positive notes: mostly on globalization and praise of other economists. As far as I can tell, Krugman has been right a great deal of the time. Economists across the spectrum agree with most of his major points and he scooped most of the economic community in recognizing Enron's market manipulations in California.

It is therefore a quietly terrifying book: its critique of the current US governing coalition is sharp and well-buttressed. When a moderate, mainstream economist like Krugman--he seems to have been hired by the Times to be a cheerleader for globalization--starts saying these people are radicals: saying that these people intend to dismantle the New Deal, that these people are warmongers, that these people oppose the separation of church and state, and may not even accept democracy as a form of government, and when he can back his position with simple, directly reasoned, and easily checked arguments, there is great reason for concern.

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