I don’t think Krugman’s descriptive work on global trade patterns is bad. I don’t even think he has been completely wrong about the post-2008 economic depression. He certainly hasn’t been wronger than the people who are in charge in Europe, or the people running the Fed; he did, after all warn in 2005 that the Fed was “running out of bubbles” to reinflate, while Bernanke was still claiming in 2007 that subprime was contained.
I do think his defence of broken windows is facile, and I think the notion he has advanced that World War 2 ended the Great Depression is not just wrong but dangerous.
He’s a good polemicist; he defines himself through big, bold, wildly partisan claims. But if he’s going to claim that he’s been right about everything — as he just did — he might want to make sure he’s not directly contradicting statements he made just a week previous.
On June 18th Krugman posited:
I (and those of like mind) have been right about everything.
However on June 11th Krugman wrote:
People like me may not have been right about everything, but have accumulated a pretty darn good track record over the past 5 years.
So, um, which is it?
Nobody can be right about everything. Claiming that you have been is just silly hyperbole which will end up making you look bad especially when your record is, in reality, quite mixed. And if his goal is to convince policy-makers to ditch austerity (a goal that I share, at least for the time-being), he’s not going to do it by sticking his foot in his mouth.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday the U.S. has “`serious concerns” about the conduct of Russia’s parliamentary elections.
She said “the Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. That means they deserve free, fair, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.”
When it comes to deficits of democracy, and a lack of accountable leadership, Clinton would do better to look at America:
- Young people exercising their constitutional rights to protest against the disgusting, vile, anti-capitalist and unconstitutional bailouts of Wall Street financials are being pepper sprayed, beaten down to the ground and stamped on.
- The American Senate passed the NDAA — an act that authorises the military to arrest and indefinitely detain any citizen without trial, and that defines the entire United States as a battlefield.
- Banks and Washington insiders get pumped flush with cash while wider society remains in the throes of a devastating contractionary depression and crippling unemployment.
- The Guantanamo Bay detention camp remains open, almost three years after Obama pledged it would be closed.
- No Bush administration figure has been prosecuted for violating the Constitution and the Geneva Convention by authorising torture.
- Obama continues to renew the illiberal, reactionary, unconstitutional and widely-abused Patriot Act, a piece of legislation that mandates mass surveillance of Americans in violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments.
While it is impossible to hold up Russia under Putin as a paradigm of human rights and democracy, America today can hardly consider itself any better.
Of course, this isn’t really about democracy.
From the Guardian:
Vladimir Putin has accused the US of encouraging the protests over Russia‘s parliamentary election and warned of a wider crackdown on unrest.
The Russian prime minister said Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, “gave a signal” to Kremlin opponents by describing the country’s parliamentary election as rigged. “They heard this signal and with the support of the US state department began their active work,” he said.
Russia is a mineral- and resource-rich nation with the largest landmass in the world. Quite a prize.