Paul Krugman: Macroeconomic Folly


Macroeconomic Folly,  by Paul Krugman, in NY Times: All of a sudden, people seem to have noticed that policy is moving in exactly the wrong direction. We’re getting headlines like this: Debt Deal Puts U.S. on Austerity Path as Economy Falters.

I’ll need to write up my thoughts here at greater length, but let’s just say for now that what we’ve witnessed pretty much throughout the western world is a kind of inverse miracle of intellectual failure. Given a crisis that should have been relatively easy to solve — and, more than that, a crisis that anyone who knew macroeconomics 101 should have been well-prepared to deal with — what we actually got was an obsession with problems we didn’t have. We’ve obsessed over the deficit in the face of near-record low interest rates, obsessed over inflation in the face of stagnant wages, and counted on the confidence fairy to make job-destroying policies somehow job-creating.

It’s a disaster – and maybe not only an economic disaster.

Fears of far-right rise in crisis-hit Greece

ATHENS, Greece — They descended by the hundreds — black-shirted, bat-wielding youths chasing down dark-skinned immigrants through the streets of Athens and beating them senseless in an unprecedented show of force by Greece’s far-right extremists.

In Greece, alarm is rising that the twin crises of financial meltdown and soaring illegal immigration are creating the conditions for a right-wing rise — and the Norway massacre on Monday drove authorities to beef up security.

The move comes amid spiraling social unrest that has unleashed waves of rioting and vigilante thuggery on the streets of Athens. The U.N.’s refugee agency warns that some Athens neighborhoods have become zones where “fascist groups have established an odd lawless regime.”

Got that 30s feeling, all the way.

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