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Preview — The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman
The Conscience of a Liberal
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There was a time when America was a country that was interested in equality and was not really a ‘class’ society – but more a ‘middle-class’ society. There were rich and poor people, but mostly there was a kind of extended middle. That is no longer the case. Now the US is perhaps be ...more
In 2007, with a cri ...more
You're curious about how racism and the history of slavery play an uncomfortable but undeniable role in America's resistance to provide her citizens with the care and basic support other wealthy nations deem fundamental.
Also you're an elitist baby-killing commie.
Well, that means you want to read this book.
Krugman demystifies the surge of movement conservatism and calls on liberals to be progressive in their ...more
But seriously, folks. Krugman writes like the really good teaching economist that he is. This book rocks.
He's got a great - if not entirely original - dissection of the right wing movement's growth. Ditto arguments on income inequality and health care. He's got this great teaching manner that is ...more
I was reading along, getting an overview of income inequality at the turn of the 20th century, and I just couldn't take any more. Over my lifetime it's gotten steadily worse until we are once again in a time of Gatsbys, and it pisses me off so much I want to scream. Every time anyone says anything good about Reagan I want to point out that real wages have been falling sinc ...more
Although Krugman's book was published in 2007 (Goldwater's back in the 1960s), it remains worth reading. In fact, it is prescient in two major ways.
First, Krugman focuses hard on income inequality, which is a hot topic in 2014. His argument is that over the last 30+ years, taxes on the wealthy have gone down, social programs have been constrained, unions have been busted, and the ...more
I found Chapter 8, Politics of Inequality, the most informative. The chapter outlines how George W. Bush and Dick Cheney came to lead the country and how it's tied to William F. Buckley defending the right of the South to prevent blacks from voting— the white community is so entitled because it is, for the time being, the advanced race. And how they praised Generalissimo Francisco Franco, who overthrew a democratically elected government in the name of church and property.
Another passage that ca...more
I love PK; I think he is heaven sent. In fact, he just became my best friend. This book falls just short of a perfect read, but I doubt very much that many agree with me. In it, Krugman is trying to sell the welfare state by coherent economic argument - bril! I love that he is unabashed in his desire for a progressiv ...more
The best part of the book is a history of the evolution of the Republican party in the twentieth century. Krugman layers this with comparisons of how the economy is ...more
Leaving aside reasons why I made such a autobiographical u-turn, interesting or boring as they might be, Krugman makes sense to me today. He argues that Democrats are the TRUE conser ...more
Well.. there are a lot of statistics and numbers, sure. But.. that's not really the point of this book, I don't think. Krugman IS liberal -- but he makes a convincing case for why that's a very GOOD thing ...more
This is an ambitious book that covers a vast range of topics concerning American politics and economics since the 20th century. Krugman draws parallels between the present and the past and offers many ways to return America to the way it was under FDR: democratic, middle-class, and with greater social and economic equality than there is now. It's a very interesting and surprisingly easy to understand book, and I definitely learned a lot.
"The most ...more
Krugman, who just garnered a Nobel Prize in Economics this past year, is an unapologetic liberal. Or more specifically, as he likes to re-clarify at the end of his two-hundred-some page treatise, progressive. Coming out just a year before the recent election of the Democratic candidate to the U.S. Presidency and the economic fallout of eight years of Republican policies – effectively a mass repudiation of the cronyism and bullishness of movement conser ...more
This isn't my favorite work of Krugman's. I didn't think anything was added to the argument. The first half of the book, which focuses on historical pe ...more
That jump doesn't stretch Krugman's skills nor the reader's imagination. The Nobel laureate in economics has always made his views clear, but here he spells out the political message of his thought.
The clarity of the message, akin to the loud drum-call of war, is the rhetorical strength of the many essays of the book.
The very same straightforwardness and singularity of vision (c ...more
According to Krugman, "...political change in the form of rising polarization has been a major cause of rising inequality." The sad story goes like this:
"Over the course of the 1970's, radicals of the right determined to roll back the achievements of the New Deal took over the Republican Party, opening a partisan gap with the Democrats, who became true conservatives, defenders of the longstanding institutions of equality. The empowerment of the hard right emboldened busi ...more
I read 140 pages--enough to get a lot out of the book. And the information, the history, is FANTASTIC. It put into words, and ...more
Krugman's thesis is that, against conventional wisdom, politics have driven economics, and not vice-versa, over the last 30 or so years of right-wing dominance, resulting in the profoundly unequal society we live in. He claims that before the Reagan Revolution (which had ...more
Krugman clearly and concisely explains the economic and political history of the 20th century United States. He argues that politics drives economics (not the reverse), and he focuses on how our current economic situation, in which the rich keep getting richer and the poor and middle class poorer, is a reversal of the economic equalizing that New Deal legislation--Social Security, unemployment ins ...more
He does give fairly good support for many arguments, but his problem is his initial assumption that equal outcome is the goal. If you accept this premise, he makes some sense. But if you correctly view such a mentali ...more