Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations (Norton Paperback)

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9780393312928: Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations (Norton Paperback)

Newsweek hailed Paul Krugman as "a superstar among economists" and went on to praise Peddling Prosperity 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.

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About the Author:

Paul Krugman is the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics. He is a best-selling author, columnist, and blogger for the New York Times, and is a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Economists willing or able to appraise their dismal science and its arguable utility with something other than reverential solemnity are a decidedly rare breed. On the evidence of the ingratiatingly witty text at hand, however, MIT Professor Krugman (The Age of Diminished Experience, not reviewed) can and does subject a dubious discipline to the sort of analysis that could make it accessible as well as useful to the voting public. For all his wry commentary, the author is informed by a serious purpose: he wants not only to determine why the domestic economy is no longer growing at the pre-1973 rates that made America the envy of the Global Village, but also to uncover the reasons for decelerating gains in real income, an alarming spread in poverty, and related obstacles along the rocky road to perdurable prosperity. Toward these ends, he first warns that genus economicus encompasses two distinct species: academics (who pursue typically arcane research projects that, however slowly, can expand mankind's knowledge, if not immediate understanding) and policy entrepreneurs (high-profile go-getters willing to swap the approval of professional peers for acceptance by pols eager for simple, sound-bite solutions to the frequently intractable problems affecting their varied constituencies). In this cautionary context, Krugman surveys cyclical swings in ideology over the past couple of decades, starting with the successful challenge mounted by the right against Keynesian precepts, high taxation, and the welfare state. Focusing, inter alia, on the persistent expansion of federal budget deficits, he next evaluates the checkered record compiled by conservatives in power. Covered as well is the subsequent discrediting of supply- siders, the concurrent emergence of their liberal counterparts (so- called strategic traders), and the renaissance of intervention theory. At the end of the day, the author proves himself an equal- opportunity critic who remains ready to be convinced that even one- note advocates might have something to contribute. An uncommonly sensible audit of socioeconomic fads, fallacies, and fashion. (Charts and tabular material--not seen) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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