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Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,206 ratings  ·  176 reviews
There is no better guide than Paul Krugman to basic economics, the ideas that animate much of our public policy. Likewise, there is no stronger foe of zombie economics, the misunderstandings that just won’t die.

In Arguing with Zombies, Krugman tackles many of these misunderstandings, taking stock of where the United States has come from and where it’s headed in a series of
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by W. W. Norton Company
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Ryan Boissonneault
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
The problem with the political right of recent history is not that they don’t think like the left, or that they operate according to a different political philosophy. The problem is that the right has no qualms about presenting intentionally misleading and false information to achieve political gains at all costs (The left at times can do this too, of course, but not nearly to the extent of the right.)

Since the right operates according to a very simplistic platform, they are ideologically wedde
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
16th book for 2020.

A collection of essays by the economist Paul Krugman published over the last decade or so, starting with Obama's actions over the 2008 financial meltdown and his attempts at health care reform and ending with Trumpian tax cuts and trade policy. Essays are collected thematically, not chronologically; with Krugman adding afterwords where necessarily to bring them up to date.

Despite some repetition across essays, Krugman's writing is clear, and the book is a pleasure to read. An
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 32%.

I have a degree in accounting, am interested in everyday economic issues and yet books about economics are just so dry to me. This book appeared to have some strengths: it's organized by topic; the articles have updates and clarifications; and some topics impact everyday Americans (e.g. Social Security, Obamacare; tax cuts; Trump).

The problem for me is that it's still a book about economics written by an economist. A journalist but still ultimately an economist. And an extremely arrog
Dan Graser
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very fine collection of essays, blog posts, and articles covering essentially two decades worth of issues, though there are also a couple of foundational works from the early 90's included as well. Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman displays a breadth and depth of work that includes economic research and public policy polemics. The focus of this volume is dealing with an element of post-truth speak in which ideas and notions that have been consistently and thoroughly debunked, ...more
Rick Wilson
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I love the concept. Arguing with Zombies is an incredible metaphor for our increasingly siloed world. I remember viscerally feeling what Thomas Pinketty called a “dialogue of the deaf” to describe how people talk past one another. Krugman's idea is even more visual and potent. Certain policies have been killed through research and evidence, yet continue to be held up by those with nefarious motives. Evoking visuals of glassy eyed news anchors mindlessly repeating taglines.

I had an image of Krug
Andrew Pratley
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
It is always a pleasure to spent some time reading the thoughts & views of Paul Krugman. I am one of those sad souls who read economics & politics for pleasure. With Paul you get both. Much of what he says, I agree with, & over the years he has convinced me to turn away from Monetarism & embrace Keynesian.

Mr Krugman worked in the Reagan administration, as a young man. He described his time there as that of being a technocrat seeking to do some public good. Today, he is highly critical of the Re
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book of Krugman columns! He is always fun to read but also filled with insights. He is especially valuable to read as someone who has a good sense for policy issues while also remaining rigorous. I have always liked his economic geography work. I had read some of these before but they are short and well crafted. The book is organized on a mixed basis by time and by subject area. Re the title, Krugman is at his best in responding to ideas that are popular with pundits but lack intellectual cohe ...more
Nader Rizkalla
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked Krugman’s economy views, and I disliked his political ones.

Krugman, as most liberals, is failing miserably to understand the existential threat to Western civilization which is driving the political sentiment to the right.

His view that Republican Party supporters are just old grumpy white men is shallow and childish. His hatred for the right makes him also severely blind to the terrible corruption within the Democratic Party.

If he is protesting that the republicans are just supporting th
Rahul  Adusumilli
This is Krugman bringing his NYT articles from behind the paywall. He dismantles bad faith arguments of the Conservatives and has great fun while at it. The few articles from the Bush era remind you the Republicans have always been crooked.
Divita Mathur
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it
From most of the essays in this book I realized that I am a non-Republican zombie and Mr. Krugman believes he won the argument by rolling his eyes.
Tõnu Vahtra
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Nobel laureate who in Estonian public is more known for Twitter fights around economic situation Estonia with former president Ilves. The book is essentially a collection of essays from past 15 years on different socio-economical topics. I felt quite lost in the first chapters that were very much focused on the political landscape of US and it's economic consequences, as the topics became more international or focused to Europe they became more easier to follow. When reading Krugman I felt sub ...more
Mark Lawry
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a lifelong Reagan/Friedman fan. I know, both are flawed mortals. Friedman and Krugman demonstrate that people can be brilliant, well read in a subject, wrestle a long time with complex issues, and see things very differently. Krugman grows on me. I can accept he is perhaps to the left (if that word still has any meaning after 2106) of me. It is always very evident that Krugman doesn't write an opinion without extensively reading about the subject first, and he does have a Nobel Prize in eco ...more
Ken Boyce
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Arguing With Zombies is a great read from someone who speaks truth to power, specifically those who use power and obfuscation to attack the truth. Someone who is brilliant but works hard to make ideas accessible. Someone who is incredibly accomplished but calls the Nobel Prize "the Swedish thingie" because what really drives him is factual foundations for discourse about critical topics. In reading these articles dating back decades, and clustered into topics with new introductions, I admire Mr. ...more
Chuy Ruiz
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't know how this ended up on my library queue. I am not a fan of Krugman or of Democratic party policy makers in general. But it was an informative read. The format is not my favorite, since this is a collection of articles, blog posts, and essays. So it did repeat itself more than I would like. But I did learn some things, even if I don't share his outlook on many things. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about where Paul Krugman stands politically and economically is that he seems to be ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Krugman remains a guiding light in a sea of confusion and misinformation.

However, this is not a fully considered book per se; it's a collection of his columns from the past decade. The small snippets are interesting but ultimately unsatisfying as a long read.

I think I was hoping for something more along the lines of "Conscience of a Liberal" which remains bright and fully meaningful today, despite the fact that it was written before the first Obama administration.
Emanuele Gemelli
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-reader
Do not like books made by collection of articles or blog's posts, but nothing to argue about the topics and the writing style. I really wonder why so many persons belonging to the middle class fall into the neoliberist trap, but I would argue the same would work with any belief paradigm based on nothing ...more
Miebara Jato
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Paul Krugman is an economics professor in NYU. He's the 2008 Nobel Prize winner in Economics. The past 20 years, Krugman has been a columnist for the New York Times. Arguing with Zombies is a collection of some of the articles he'd penned for the Times. The topics covered in this volume ranged from climate change to social security to healthcare to the Euro.

Zombie ideas are ideas that should have been killed by contrary evidence, but instead keep shambling along, eating people’s brains. The Zom
Richard Marney
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A brilliant economist turned pundit, Paul Krugman has used his role as a NYT columnist and TV personality to give hope (most often dashed in the era of the Tea Party, Mitch the Grim Reaper and the Stable Genius)to the center-left and migraines to the right of the political spectrum for the last twenty years (a bit less).

In the book, a number of the major policy issues of the period are covered. Dr. Krugman highlights his view that a high degree of intellectual deceit drives the conservative mov
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't read it quite as fast as it might seem - it's simply that I'd already read most of these online. If I had known that it was a collection of his columns, I probably wouldn't have requested it from the library. It's an enjoyable read nonetheless. ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. The only sad part, like all of these books, is that it is missing a method to get through to Republicans. The Covid 19 is only an appetizer for what is going to happen with climate change and the behavior of the GOP will be no different. You would have difficulty arguing with Mr. Krugman's logic but if I presented any of it to Trump supporters all I would get is what aboutism. What abot that nasty Pelosi or any of the other Zombies. ...more
Julien Pigot
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
A delightful surprise! Krugman is - of course! - no novice to writing nor a indie cult-sensation, so it is only natural that this book be interesting. It does, however, come off as a little alarming when you realise that the book is actually an amalgam of his NYT columns rather that a single cohesive book. Despite this, the masterful selection of articles spanning from the early 1990's until as recent as the year of the book's launch that are bundled by chapter-topics makes for a very smooth and ...more
If you are interested in macro-economics, in the way political and economic decisions affect the world, then you’ll want to read (or listen to) this book. It’s a compilation of Krugman’s essays, columns, and blog posts from 2004 through late 2019, discussing everything from health care to tax cuts, from depressions and recessions to economic prosperity.

Krugman does have a political bent which is more liberal and Democratic leaning than Republican. Nevertheless, regardless of your political affi
David Schwan
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sporadically I would see Paul Klugman's column reposted or quoted in articles and on social media. This book collects a bunch of recent essays. Some of the conclusions I had seen before, some not. Much of modern economic theory has been dominated by the Chicago School (University of Chicago), and many of their ideas are showing both their age and lack of data to back them up (more philosophical theory than data driven), this book confronts some of this. Easy read, except for one chapter (and he ...more
Aseeb Niazi
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Nothing ground breaking in this book. Krugman has put together a bunch of his columns about various topics, such as the media, Healthcare, climate etc, to highlight the difference between the dems republicans.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is just a collection of articles published in the New York Times.
Tadas Talaikis
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not much new for me after many books, but has very good definition for the conservatives and neoliberals who, like virus vectors, carry their long dead fantasy economy theories, - zombies.
Nigel Shenton
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Foot Note
Better ahead of a dog 🐶 than the tail of a lion

How convenient that Bill Gates is off the board on Warren Buffett, of Cola Had interest in Gas industry, when Gates was director for Facebook.

When technology wants a social license and Gates goes if a computer takes a human Job, it should be taxed just as much as a human.

When the year of XNE goes ABEX is a massive update from all Microsoft computers

It's interesting CNet is also publishing this first before business insider.

Even more intere
Jay Bee
Jul 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book from the economist who predicted the stock market crash if Trump elected. Enough said!
This is a compilation of earlier articles and blog posts that have aged well. I especially liked the examinations of unemployment and the discussions of the Euro.
Zoe Zou
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I always thought Krugman is insightful but subjective.
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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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