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Paul Krugman’s best books

October 20th, 2008 · No Comments

We have previously expressed our enthusiasm for Paul’s Nobel price in economics this year (here). Here is a list of our favourite writings. You might not always agree with him, but he brings a wealth of economic knowledge to political and social issues, and his ability to make complex issues simple and entertaining is unmatched.

This is a book with bundled columns divided in themes as chapters. Some are dated in the sense that the topics, like the Californian energy crisis (Krugman was the first who unraveled the real reasons behind this), but together they weave a rather bleak picture of economic policy in the first half of this decade. Of course, with hindsight, we know that this was at least in part the prelude to the deluge we’re experiencing now.

Some passages are plainly painful to read, like the one about the role of the media in the first stage of the Irak war, where Krugman wrote that it was rather curious that Americans who want to inform themselves were turning to the state-run tv of their biggest ally, and were ignoring their own US private networks, who were “wrapping themselves in the flag.”

That might be a common insight now, but certainly not at the time Krugman wrote this. This is not the only time Krugman was way ahead of the curve.

Krugman has been villified because in many of the columns he has a go at the presidents policies, but with hindsight, you cannot really say that we weren’t warned. One reason perhaps is also that just because his grasp of the economics is an order of magnitude better than your usual columnist (ourselves included), he’s very hard to argue with.

The theme that infuses many of the columns is that the Bush government are radicals who don’t accept the legitimacy of the political system. Bush supporters have villified Krugman for having such a go at the president, instead calling him a radical. But dealing with his day-to-day arguments in his columns is quite another matter, as he is usually spot on.

Tags: Book Reviews