Does Krugman Have a Brain?

Dennis R Redmond dredmond at SPAMoregon.uoregon.edu
Sun May 14 20:00:14 MDT 2000


On Sun, 14 May 2000, Louis Proyect wrote:

> New York Times, May 14, 2000
> RECKONINGS / By PAUL KRUGMAN
>
> True, Japan has avoided full-scale depression. Deficit spending, on a scale
> no nation at peace has ever tried before, has kept the economy afloat. But
> such huge budget deficits cannot be sustained indefinitely;

Krugman is so unbelievably *dim*. You'd think the bourgeoisie would have
introduced Total Quality Control on their house economists by now.
Japanese deficit spending is peanuts compared to the wild expansion of
private credit in the US; globally, public debt is 1/3 of private debt.
Japan is a global creditor with $1.2 trillion in net assets, another
trillion in postal savings accounts, while the keiretsu have $3 trillion
of net claims on the rest of the world-economy to draw on. Creditors can
print as much money as they want, period.

> Japan was counting on technology to save it from stagnation. As good as
> Japanese technology may be -- and much of it is very good indeed -- the
> prospect that technology will rescue Japan's economy is now receding.

No facts or statistics to back this up; nothing about how chip spending is
exploding in Japan, or how revenues from Japanese info-tech firms
surpassed those of the auto industry in 1996, or how investment in info
tech makes up more than 20% of all investment spending, or the fact that
Japan spends way more as a % of GDP on science and research than the US.
Nothing about Nintendo or the Playstation 2 or the concrete strategies of
Japanese firms or the shift to system-on-a-chip devices. Krugman is like
the Richard Wagner of neolib economists or something, all these grandiose,
pompous portents of millenial doom which turn out to be the dreariest,
dullest epistles to bean-counting Conventional Wisdom imaginable.

On the other hand, it's good to know that the New York Times is
maintaining its usual, um, standards. The moment they start printing
coherent economic analysis will be the sign of the Apocalypse, for
sure.

-- Dennis






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