LXXX - The Return of Depression Economics - and the crisis of 2008, by Paul Krugman - comments by André Bandeira
It is probably late referring now to this book, which has been published three years ago. But Krugman is still very active as a journalist. Nevertheless, three years have passed after he received the Nobel Prize in Economics. So, we have time enough to recover from the kick and taste the core of his words. Krugman, the «Globalist», came in Obama's tide. But he advocated globalism, no matter this was being spread by the merchant or by the canon. It doesn't matter either whether «globalism» is being spread by throngs of disenfranchised youths, on the southern bank of the Mediterranean. Basically, Krugman says that we are not in a depression, but we are in a depression Economics' mood. As Keynes used to say, ideas matter much more than vested interests. Krugman's ideas are the ones pointing out that this kind of depression Economics has to be solved on the side of demand, and not on the side of supply. Thus, austerity will only turn a recession into an economic slump, as it did among the asian tigers, in the nineties, or Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. These are his ideas. But what kind of ideas are the ones exposed by Krugman? I say that I don't know. He portrays himself as a liberal. And as a keynesian. It is fair, but it is not enough. Actually, he didn't become a faustian neo-conservative, as it happened with many liberals, when they indulged in being carried away by pure politics. But Krugman expresses his own ideas in steep formulae such as the one that the UState intervened in the Economy, after the Great Depression, by means of an enormous undertaking of public investments: the Second World War. This is too much of a heavy joke, not to be interpreted as true. In conclusion: he says that the investment Banks, as well as the shadow banking system, have to be more regulated. This is a cacophony of Obama - we have it on TV, and we have it now, in a book. But what Krugman means is frightening, if not terrifying. He means that an economic crisis is basically a question of attitude, being reckognizable in the way one expresses his ideas, the color he paints the sky and the capability he has to influence public policies. So to say, the magic touch of Krugman's «liberalism» consists in finding the way how to make himself heard, when Governments have the time and resources to try the most juicy ideas in the marketplace. This is indeed, neither a problem of indoctrination in Economics, nor one of upper hand in Politics. It is a problem of civilization, if not of basic human decency. Krugman barks superbly, but the burglars are already faraway. We wonder if he is nothing more than an echo.