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End This Depression Now! Audible – Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 315 customer reviews

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
End this Depression Now contains Paul Krugman's analysis and prescriptions for the crisis that has gripped America and the world since 2008. The book is very readable and accessible; Krugman is skilled at using descriptive narrative and analogies while avoiding technical jargon.

The most important aspect of the book is its focus on the on-going jobs crisis. Krugman clearly understands that, as far as most average people are concerned, access to a good job and decent wages are the most important gauge of prosperity. The book does a great job of highlighting the devastating human costs of the current unemployment crisis, especially for younger people who are just entering the job market and are unfortunately likely to feel the impact not just in the short term, but throughout their entire careers.

Krugman shows how a lack of demand for products and services is keeping us in the current depression and may ultimately cost us at least $5 Trillion (and perhaps much more) in lost productive output and earnings. He also explains the "saltwater v. freshwater" rivalry in economics and suggests that conservative economists who argue against action to revive the economy are ignoring reality and relying on a "quasi-religious" faith in markets. Next he looks at how soaring income inequality resulted in policies such as excessive deregulation of the financial industry that directly led to the crisis. There's also a section on the problems in Europe and the role a common currency has played.

Krugman argues effectively that the stimulus was insufficient and that we need more spending on infrastructure as well as more action by the Fed and revised rules to make it easier for homeowners to take advantage of low mortgage rates.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this book Dr. Krugman puts forth the very conventional neo-Keynesian argument for monetary and fiscal stimulus written in a non-technical manner. The intended audience is laymen. For those, even with one macroeconomic class under their belts, this book would not present anything new. It also does not discuss the causes of the current economic crises but, instead, only solutions within the neo-Keynesian framework.

Dr. Krugman's posited solution is the mainstream "middle of the road" advice that would be given by the overwhelming majority of academic and professional economists. Due to the fact that the economy is currently in what is called a "liquidity trap" (a combination of a lack demand for products and an accompanying and associated lack of demand for capital [i.e., loans]), monetary policy alone does not suffice. Even if interest rates are very low, as the currently are, as little or no sales are expected, low interest rates cannot, per se, prompt businesses to borrow and invest. Hence the need for an expansionary fiscal policy.

Dr. Krugman makes this argument well (and in terms a non-economics major can comprehend) but the book does have a number of serious weaknesses. For one, he does not make explicitly clear how much simulative spending (as a percentage of gross domestic product or otherwise) is needed. This is ironic as an important thrust of this book, if not the main one, is that there has not been enough of a stimulus.

A second major problem is that he does not discuss what form, in terms of spending, the stimulus should have to maximize its impact. The answer to this is in spending which ends up in the hands of those with relatively high marginal propensities to consume (i.e.
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Format: Hardcover
I've enjoyed Krugman's previous books and have been reading his New York Times blog for the past five years now because, quite frankly, he's been almost always right about major economic policies. In this book, Krugman lays out the case for spending more money in order to pull the economy out of its economic doldrums quickly and with as little pain as possible to regular Joes/Janes like you and me.

Krugman's point isn't that the U.S. government should ALWAYS spend lots of money (or "print" lots of money, as some angry reviewers have put it). Krugman's argument is that in a recession where the Federal Reserve can't lower its rates any further, the government MUST continue spending money. The alternative is called austerity, and that policy is having disastrous effects in Europe even as we speak. Why? Because when the government cuts spending, it's cutting JOBS.

Krugman lays out his argument in the book on government spending and a higher inflation target, which--again!--he clearly states isn't supposed to be permanent or by any means debilitating. He also discusses the economic discussions that have thrown us back into this "Dark Age" where previously debunked theories have now become the mainstream way of thinking. In his sections on the ramifications of an economic depression, Krugman also points out just how much suffering goes along with these periods and makes a strong case for ensuring that our government does everything it can to pull the economy back on track. Learning from the mistakes of the Obama administration is a good thing and could help us in the future ... and Krugman has no problem pointing out President Obama's economic mistakes.

I strongly recommend this book even if you disagree with Krugman's policy prescriptions. Why? Because he's been right so far, and the people who have given this book negative reviews seem to have no idea what the book is actually about.
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