Krugman’s Blog, 3/16/13

Two posts yesterday.  The first was “The Very Confident Jean-Claude Trichet:”

I’m somewhat belatedly getting to Jean-Claude Trichet’s op-ed in the Times; now that I have, I find myself puzzled. What, exactly, was his purpose in writing this? For that matter, what, exactly, did it say? I live and breathe this stuff, and I can’t get much of a message here except “trust us, we know what we’re doing”.

That said, I guess it’s an endorsement of austerity policies, which, he says, are working:

Confidence is returning and paving the way for growth and job creation.

And he explains why: austerity is good

Not because it is an elementary recommendation to care for your sons and daughter and not overburden them, but because it is good for confidence, consumption and investment today.

Oh, wait — the second quote there comes from remarks Trichet made in September 2010. Just as a reminder of how prescient these remarks proved:

I don’t especially mean to pick on Trichet, whom I actually like as a person. But consider this another demonstration that nothing, absolutely nothing, will shake the conviction that austerity was and is the right policy.

He ended the day with “Ten Years Later:”

Anniversaries of important events generally lead to a spate of articles and news reports looking back at those events. It’s not exactly irrational: the date can serve as a kind of focal point, in which articles that could have been written at any time can be published in the expectation that other pieces on the same subject will be published at the same time, raising the story to prominence.

And there’s a very big anniversary coming up next week — the start of the Iraq war. So why does there seem to be so little coverage?

Well, it’s not hard to think of a reason: a lot of people behaved badly in the runup to that war, and many though not all people in the news media behaved especially badly.

It’s hard now to recall the atmosphere of the time, but there was both an overpowering force of conventional wisdom — all the Very Serious People were for war, don’t you know, and if you were against you were by definition flaky — and a strong current of fear. To come out against the war, let alone to suggest that the Bush administration was deliberately misleading the nation into war, looked all too likely to be a career-ending stance. And there were all too few profiles in courage.

The war, then, was a big test — a test of your ability to cut through a fog of propaganda, but also a test of your moral and to some extent personal courage. And a lot of people in the media failed.

Am I wrong to think that this is one reason this tenth anniversary isn’t getting more play?



3 Responses to “Krugman’s Blog, 3/16/13”

  1. phlexicon (i only have 1 name) Says:

    it seems that in th not to distant future robots will be taking over most of everyday jobs now held by th majority of middle and lower class workers. employment by actual humans will eventually be less than 10% and therefore unemployment will be > 90%. if this is where th world is headed why do people complain about unemployment rising. it can be a good thing and definitely will be in th future.

    • mgpaquin Says:

      And how, phlexicon, are the 90% unemployed supposed to feed and house themselves?

      • phlexicon (i only have 1 name) Says:

        futurists have been trying to answer that for th last 50+ years. clearly society will have to deal with it. “future shock” addresses th issue but that was a perspective from almost 60 years ago. it is 1 of th many reasons we need think about limiting population growth. many believe that working will be replaced with leisure. it’s not that people will be out of work – it’s that they won’t need to work. society will provide for th needs of all and poverty will become an ancient memory. now, i realize that’s a bit optimistic but since we already have robots that work for ~ $3/hr and are much more efficient than most humans, it’s only a matter of time before all mundane jobs will be done by mechanical entities. as you saw in one of th other articles today, soldiers/pilots are already being fazed out. and that’s really scary.
        if we can correct th imbalance between th haves and th have nots, and find a better balance between th number of people and th amount of resources, then maybe we won’t have to resort to wars to cull th population.

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