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The Conscience of a Liberal

af Paul Krugman

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1,0592319,375 (4.01)15
Today's most widely read economist challenges America to reclaim the values that made it great. Here he studies the past eighty years of American history, from the reforms that tamed the harsh inequality of the Gilded Age to the unraveling of that achievement and the reemergence of immense economic and political inequality since the 1970s. Seeking to understand both what happened to middle-class America and what it will take to achieve a "new New Deal," Krugman has woven together a nuanced account of three generations of history with sharp political, social, and economic analysis. This book, written with Krugman's trademark ability to explain complex issues simply, may transform the debate about American social policy.--From publisher description.… (mere)
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This is the problem. I did not learn that much from Krugman's book. I personally feel that one of its shortcomings is that Krugman writes for only one audience (I think a great writer could appeal to many audiences). I did learn a few more historical details about past administrations' policies (Nixon's ideas about SS and Medicare). Even though a lot of fiscally conservative folks dislike Krugman, I'd say that his analysis of history is pretty non-partisan. ( )
  tyk314 | Jan 22, 2024 |
This is the problem. I did not learn that much from Krugman's book. I personally feel that one of its shortcomings is that Krugman writes for only one audience (I think a great writer could appeal to many audiences). I did learn a few more historical details about past administrations' policies (Nixon's ideas about SS and Medicare). Even though a lot of fiscally conservative folks dislike Krugman, I'd say that his analysis of history is pretty non-partisan. ( )
  tyk314 | Jan 22, 2024 |
The book is becomming a little dated, in that it was written before the 2008 election, and his discussion of the policies of some of the candidates in that election are no longer relevant. However, that's a very minor element, since the more relevant discussions involving the New Deal and the Reagan years aren't changing. Krugman, as an economist, does a good job of describing his views, and may reinforce these ideas among liberal and progressive readers, but is unlikely to convert many conservatives. One thing that Krugman discusses is that income inequality is rising in recent years, and while Krugman may have a desire to see that reversed, which will resonate with his liberal readers, finding the limits and way to reverse that trend is more problematic. A public policy that sounds like redistribution of wealth from the richest to the poor will not win the hearts and minds of many conservative readers. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
I've been a regular reader of his always-interesting New York Times columns for years, but ever since I studied his work on trade and urban geography in grad school (coincidentally, the work that would gain him the 2008 Economics Nobel Prize), I've been a huge admirer of his serious economics work as well. The Conscience of a Liberal is a response of sorts to Barry Goldwaters's highly influential 1960 book The Conscience of a Conservative, making the case that if the United States is to remain a country where everyone can pursue their own happiness in maximum liberty and peace, the Reagan-era policies that benefit the rich few at the expense of the poor many must be reversed, and a new New Deal - chiefly the establishment of universal health care - is the best way to encourage opportunity and ensure that everyone can fully participate in the ever-changing American economy. It's also an enlightening history of the modern liberal and conservative movements that does a great job of showing the direct lineage from historical states' rights segregationists to modern health care reform opponents, and how calm debate and careful thinking can and should win out over narrow self-interest and greed. A good way to tell a good book is by how much it gives you to think about after you've finished, and The Conscience of a Liberal had me thinking about it for months afterwards. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Political affiliation aside, this book makes some horrible arguments. ( )
  chiefchirpa7865 | Apr 12, 2021 |
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In all, Krugman has managed to pull together huge chunks of American social, political and economic history in a fairly brief space. He writes from a confidently liberal perspective, picking apart the "vast rightwing conspiracy" with considerable ingenuity.
tilføjet af mikeg2 | RedigerThe Guardian, Jay Parini (Mar 22, 2008)
 

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Today's most widely read economist challenges America to reclaim the values that made it great. Here he studies the past eighty years of American history, from the reforms that tamed the harsh inequality of the Gilded Age to the unraveling of that achievement and the reemergence of immense economic and political inequality since the 1970s. Seeking to understand both what happened to middle-class America and what it will take to achieve a "new New Deal," Krugman has woven together a nuanced account of three generations of history with sharp political, social, and economic analysis. This book, written with Krugman's trademark ability to explain complex issues simply, may transform the debate about American social policy.--From publisher description.

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