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The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,957 ratings  ·  77 reviews
No one has more authority to call the shots the way they really are than award-winning economist Paul Krugman, whose provocative New York Times columns are keenly followed by millions. One of the world's most respected economists, Krugman has been named America's most important columnist by the Washington Monthly and columnist of the year by Editor and Publisher magazine.

Paperback, 560 pages
Published August 17th 2004 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 2001)
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Dean Moberly
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Americans and others
I tend to be very cautious when reading anything current about politics... especially when it comes from a writer who shares my feelings and views (e.g. Dick Cheney eats babies for breakfast). Krugman is an economist and Op Ed columnist for The New York Times who approaches the state of our country without the hysteria of a Fox News host or any number of Vanity Fair contributors. Occasionally confessing where his theories and forecasts on the economy have gone wrong, he earns points for an open ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For those of you who don't believe that history repeats itself, I defy you to read this book and not draw parallels between the current administration and the last Republican presidential shenanigans, which is when this collection of Paul Krugman's columns was originally written. At certain points, I'm sure that Krugman could easily change the names of the players and simply submit the column again. This, of course, makes this a somewhat depressing, though eye-opening read, particularly if you s ...more
I like Paul Krugman, and this collection of his op-ed pieces for the NY Times written between 2000 and 2003 has stimulated me to follow him closer at his blog. There is no doubt that he makes a strong case in this book for his contention (with which I agree) that there is a right-wing movement in this country that is taking control of our politics and our economy. This was his contention in 2003, and I don't think it has changed since then.

As much as I agree with and commiserate with Paul Krugm
Paul W
You might think this refers to the GFC (aka the Great Recession in the US). You'd be wrong. It is actually a series of newspaper articles written in 2001 and 2002. Krugman's articles were challenging so many of the US policies that were ultimately to result in the GFC in 2008/9. The recession in 2001 turns out to have been a trial run of the much deeper malaise of 2008, but with many of the same underlying causes. In 1998 when commenting on the debt build up in the US he presciently noted: "ther ...more
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Larry by: NYT book review
A penetrating look at the partisanship and elitism of the Bush administration by an economist with a rapier like wit (hard to believe, eh?) The mendacity and self aggrandizement of the Bush crew is apparent to all. The sheer hubris is breath taking, something the world hasn't seen since Joseph Goebbels. Alas we all are to blame as we had two chances to stop all this and we did not do it. Let's not make that mistake again, ever.
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Krugman is just right on over and over again. The financial mess we find ourselves in was pretty much predicted by him in 2002 to 2004 where he says over and over, the mendacity and malfeasance, the shirking and ducking of accountability, oversight, regulation will lead to a loss of investor confidence, market collapse, etc.

Now he has a Nobel Prize and the satisfaction of watching all he said would likely happen, happen.
Raghu oddiraju
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I just finished reading this book and the timing could not have been better. With all the talk going about "Fiscal Cliff" etc,. Paul really lays it out to you how policies are made at the highest level. It is always interesting to know about power, money and how they go hand-in-hand.
Though you don't have to believe everything he says, it is still a good read.
I plan on reading his other works after this.
Apr 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: liberals, conservatives open to logic
Krugman is brilliant, his topics are wide-ranging, and his grounding as an economist means that his ideas are supported in such a way that whatever your political views, you can engage with this book in a useful way (unlike, say, Bill O'Reilly's or Al Franken's books). Note of caution to those left of center, and therefore more apt to agree with Krugman: You will be completely outraged.
May 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
The format of this book, a collection of newspaper columns, makes it excellent for reading on the bus or the subway. It's also interesting to see what Krugman was writing as events unfolded compared to the conventional wisdom then and now. I wish more of what Krugman predicted so many years ago had not turned out to be right.
Mar 06, 2015 added it
His columns written while the events of the Bush adminstration were happening were enlightening and explained the mistakes and the consequences of the foolish war in Iraq. Trying to turn Iraq into a Haliburton gas station has blown up and caused this country dearly and we will continue to pay for this terrible mistake for many more years to come.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Top notch writing, insightful, compelling analysis of the economic debacle of the Bush administration, the effects of which we are painfully feeling now and will continue to feel for years to come. Paul Krugman is articulate, well-informed, with a keen eye for seeing through BS. A must-read and still as meaningful today as when it was written.
Dennis Littrell
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An economic view of the imperial presidency

If you think things are bad in Iraq, you might want to check out how things are going on the home front, economically speaking, that is. What is unraveling is the nation's economic health. What we are looking at, according to Princeton economist and New York Times Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman, is not only an emperor without any clothes, but a nation being burdened with so much debt that it is ready to crash upon the rocks of a hard economic reality to c
Chris Brimmer
Lucid writing that the layman should understand. It is an excellent collection with great organization. It is the intelligent answer to the Republican assertion that no one saw the "great recession" coming.
Dv Prasad
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
It scares me a lot. If all this is true and US of A can elect such a president twice, what else is that country capable(sic) of?

On a side note, India is not even mentioned once. That's how relevant India is to USA.
Gary Turner
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An accurate chronicle of the greedy takeover of our democracy with the help of the regressive Republican party and their cocotte leaders George Bush and Dick Cheney and many others.
Still good stuff in here even though some of his compiled columns are more than 15 years old.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This books is a collection of articles by Paul Krugman, basically from the end of the Clinton administration to the 2004 presidential elections. While Krugman prefaces each section with a bit of a foreword to provide context, it is not really necessary; this book does an excellent job chronicling the the Bush administration and it's penchant for crony capitalism, manipulation of the media, and the outright lying to the American people. People tend to say now that George W. Bush wasn't a terrible ...more
Molly Sutter
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It took me five months to read this book. It made me so angry, I could only read a couple essays at a time. The columns of this book were written between 1998 and 2003, when I was graduating from high school, attending college, and generally not giving a rat's ass about politics or the economy. Now, these articles eerily predict and/or mirror what's happening in America today--only today with #45 at the helm, the world is even scarier. Krugman critiques Democrats as well as Republicans, but his ...more
Steve Scott
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
I listened to the unabridged audiobook of this work.

Krugman describes the Bush administration as “far right” and extreme , but I think given the current state of affairs with the Trump administration the rhetoric was premature. The Bush administration was kleptocratic, but far more centrist than that of 2019.

And Krugman does an excellent job of exposing that kleptocracy, using facts and economic figures. As I write this California is experiencing a wave of power outages...something Krugman menti
Chandana Rao
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book makes it hard not to draw parallels between the Bush administration and the current one. It is terrifying to think that this is what Republican ideology amounts to but then again, I think of the self aggrandizing ways of Bush, the utter disarray the country was left in after his time and wonder how many more books there will be written on Trump.
M.R. Raghu
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am getting sort of bored with books that are simply a collection of columns. After Raghuram Rajan's I do What I do, i took the risk of picking this book from my shelf only to flip pages. Krugman may be a good columnist, but this certainly does not read as a book.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Although these articles were written during the Baby Bush administration, the callous indifference to the poor, the widening gap between the rich and everyone else, the administrative dishonesty and the outright greed of politicians makes them as relevant today as they were then.
Ashish Vyas
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Smart, witty, very interesting, but shocking story of Bush administration phony and corrupt economic policy. It gives an insight to where some of the ideas come in trump administration. Again, the progressive rot from Nixon to Trump can be explained by reviewing some of the history
Gordon Kwok
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Professor Krugman's book is a series of articles mostly about the right's movement in deceiving America with a budget-busting tax cut in 2001. I love Professor Krugman's work. He has an amazing talent for explaining a very difficult subject to a lay person. Professor Krugman's books are the types of books that raises your IQ after you have finished the book.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
A collection of Paul Krugmans NYT articles from 2001-2003. Mostly
criticizing President Bush. Since these are articles of the current
news, the reading these articles 10 years later allows for a
historical look, but the issues and details of the article get lost.
Mr. Krugman views president Bush and Administration as a
‘revolutionary’ power that normal reasoning cannot be used. A
revolutionary power in Krugman’s view shuts down all criticism and is
paranoid of any dissenting thought.

It is interesting t
Apr 27, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was clearly a relic from the flaming catastrophe that was the Bush Administration, and it showed. I don't think it will stand the test of time. Already, I was struggling to recall the details of our 43rd President's assaults on the economy, the environment, education, and the mental faculties, reason first among them. Still I liked it.

I decided to learn as much as I can about Finance, because it seems very critically important, and I don't know anything about it. The more I learn, the
This book was written several years ago but I just read it. It was chilling reading Krugman's economic post-mordems of the Asian financial crisis of the '90s - in hindsight it seems downright prophetic!

Krugman is a rare breed, a partisan that is cerebral and makes one think. He's not a knee jerk, mouth foaming, raging partisan that is easy to dismiss. Rather, he is a cool headed economist turned political columnist that has proven to be a particularly sharp and prescient voice in the wilderness
Stan Murai
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Paul Krugman, a Nobel prize winner and one of the world's
most respected economists, draws on his New York Times
columns to chronicle the how the boom economy of the
late 1990's and early 2000's become unraveled. He describes
how exuberance succumbed to pessimism, how corporate
heroes were exposed as perpetrators of corporate scandals,
and how how fiscal responsibility in government collapsed
only to enrich the already wealthy. Much of this book is
an account of the energy crisis in California cau
Oct 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, fiction-non
Imagine the chronicling of the Bush Jr. Administration and the US in his care being commentated on with prescience and collected in one tome. Well, that's exactly what you have here. Choice Op-ed/writings of NY Times economics writer P. K. are grouped into topics. What's interesting is that the author just doesn't jump right in. He sets the scene by establishing the reader with a familiarity with economics up to the 43's term. The articles are short 3-4 pages which makes portions digestible, eve ...more
With a name like "the great unraveling," an author like Paul Krugman, and promises to address the financial crisis, I was expecting a thoughtful meditation on the fundamental causes of the crisis. What was delivered however, was a clever money-making ploy, in which Krugman culled together his NYtimes articles from recent years, with tangential connections to the current financial situation. His articles mostly address instead his thoughts on a vast right-wing conspiracy against rationalism, mode ...more
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Paul Robin Krugman is an American economist, liberal columnist and author. He is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. In 2008, Krugman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his contributions ...more

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