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The Age of Diminished Expectations Hardcover – January 26, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Krugman's guide to the economic climate of the 1990s explores George Bush's fall from office, the junk bond market collapse, the Clinton tax plan, the health care system and the stratification of American wealth.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

This book occupies fairly rare territory: the middle ground. Krugman's most likely scenario for the 1990s is neither crash nor boom but a continuation of the 1980s, with some unemployment, more inflation, and only slow growth in income. Surprisingly, Krugman notes, the public will continue to be satisfied with this performance. Designed for the general reader, the book covers the important economic problems and proposed solutions. One also discovers which problems should be real concerns and which are even amenable to solution. Recommended especially for public libraries as a well-balanced introduction to the 1990s.
- Richard C. Schiming, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 251 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Rev&Update edition (January 26, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262111810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262111812
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,351,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pumpkin King on August 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Krugman's argument in this book is that the US economy, while not doing badly, isn't doing that well. Surely we can do better if only we expect more from our country. He goes on to provide an amazing economics lesson for the lay reader that discusses major economic topics, recent economic issues that are highly political, large problems with our current system, and what the future might hold. The chapters on international finance are particularly well written.
It's not the most recent of books, but it explains quite a lot of stuff, and most importantly, as with many of Krugman's books, you get to have a feel for the way an economist thinks. Economics is a state of mind in the sense that the more you study it, the more difficult it becomes to connect with other people. They just won't understand how your mind is thinking about things. What Krugman does is to make economics quite understandable without dumbing it down to the point where most academics would discard it as popular junk. He has strong political leanings that you are aware of if you read his column in the Times, but he is smart, and the "Age of Diminished Expectations" is definitely a good read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on May 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Paul Krugman is a world class economist. He foresees and understands economic trends better than most. His explanation of fiscal policies, international trade, and macroeconomic concepts are entertaining and clear.
Unfortunately, nothing he foresees comes true. In this book, he makes a case that because of recurring budget deficits causing a decline in our national savings rate, our investment rate will drop. This will cause a decline in productivity, and a resulting decline in the growth of our economy (GDP) and our living standard (GDP per capita). Thus, this will result in "The Age of Diminished Expectations."
The rest is history as they say. The nineties did not turn out the way Paul Krugman envisioned them. The economy increased rapidly, and so did living standards. He did not foresee the huge net foreign investments that bridged the gap between our low domestic savings rate and our high investment rate.
Well, nobody is perfect. Economic forecasting is challenging at best. Overall, it is still a very interesting and informative book. Everything he said in it will eventually be true, it is just a matter of when. But, it certainly was not true during the nineties which was his timeframe target at the time he wrote the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fred on January 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I recently read this book and "Getting it Right" by Barro, both had been assigned reading while I was an undergraduate economics major that I had carefully avoided. Having finished Mr. Krugman's work I very much regret having not read this book earlier (it was my favorite of the two). He does a very good job of writing a well thought out, easy to understand description of the evils of several aspects of our fiscal policy in the US. Two sections in particular, Section III on Policy Problems and Section IV on Financial follies, really spell out the illogical nature of many of our nation's legal and ethical dilemnas. I particularly enjoyed the section on the S&L scandal, which should be required additional reading to "Funny Money" by Mark Singer. It is, to say the least, a fascinating read.
If you are interested in understanding how US fiscal policy should function, or how we have fallen into a trap of lowered expectations with regard to the work of our elected representatives, then this is a book that you would very much enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sawaikar@wueconc.wustl.edu on November 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I found this an excellent account of the big economic issues facing the US today.It is more measured (and perhaps a little less fun!)than a lot of Krugman's popular writing .One fault with the book is it concentrates too much on macroeconomic and international issues as opposed to say industrial and environmental regualtion,the legal system and so forth.The chapter on corporate governace was among the best in the book and more chapters on microeconomic issues would definitely improve the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on August 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Although this book was written in the early 1990's, it still provides a good economic analysis of key policy issues that even exist today - from the trade deficit, health care, inflation, unemployment, etc. The book begins slowly, and disappointing because it seems like Krugman doesn't really enjoy writing about the subject. Many of his initial policy suggestions are "there will never be any change because it is too politically sensitive subject". The book begins to shine when they talk about his speciality though - international trade and finance. Dr. Krugman won the nobel prize last year for his work in this field, so it should be no surprise that he can explain this topic with more vivid detail and clarity that are lacking in other sections in the book. At the end of his text, he details three possible scenarios for the American economy going further - economic expansion, a "hard landing", and the status quo. He said the most likely scenario was the status quo - which didn't end up being the case. Overall, this was a good quick read and I anticipate reading more works from him.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hiroo Yamagata on February 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think the above review does not do justice to this wonderful book. It doesn't say"Japan is coming, sky is falling" at all, this is exactly the sort of thing he criticizes in the book. One of the great thing about this book, however, is that he does try to give a fair explanation of various theories, even when he doesn't agree with them. You always get the fair and whole picture of the issue at hand. A great book, almost everything you need to know about economics as a layperson is here.
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