The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century
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The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century

by Paul Krugman
     
 

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"Paul Krugman is a hero of mine. Read his book."—Al Franken
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

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Overview

"Paul Krugman is a hero of mine. Read his book."—Al Franken
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.
A major bestseller, this influential and wide-ranging book has been praised by BusinessWeek as Krugman's "most provocative and compelling effort yet," the New York Review of Books as "refreshing," and Library Journal as "thought-provoking...even funny." The American Prospect put it in vivid terms: "In a time when too few tell it like it is...[Krugman] has taken on the battle of our time."
Built from Paul Krugman's influential Op-Ed columns for the New York Times, this book galvanized the reading public. With wit, passion, and a unique ability to explain complex issues in plain English, Krugman describes how the nation has been misled by a dishonest administration.
In this long-awaited work containing Krugman's most influential columns along with new commentary, he chronicles how the boom economy unraveled: how exuberance gave way to pessimism, how the age of corporate heroes gave way to corporate scandals, how fiscal responsibility collapsed. From his account of the secret history of the California energy crisis to his devastating dissections of dishonesty in the Bush administration, from the war in Iraq to the looting of California to the false pretenses used to sell an economic policy that benefits only a small elite, Krugman tells the uncomfortable truth like no one else. And he gives us the road map we will need to follow if we are to get the country back on track.
The paperback edition features a new introduction as well as new writings.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Sunday Globe
“A rigorously argued, angrily eloquent, fiercely patriotic book.”
James Carville
“If I had a tenth of Paul Krugman's brain and a twentieth of his courage, I'd be the happiest person on the face of the Earth.”
Anthony Lewis
“Paul Krugman is the indispensable American columnist, a voice of truth in a political world of lies and calculated injustice. This book is even better. It makes the case, unrestrained by deference, that a revolutionary right-wing movement is out to transform the United States-and is succeeding, rolling over a supine press and political opposition.”
David Levering Lewis
“The title of Paul Krugman's The Great Unraveling might well have been The Great Usurpation. In a republic hijacked by the radical right whose leaders reject the legitimacy of our current political system, Paul Krugman's coruscant book calls for a "great revulsion" across the land before it is too late.”
Arthur M. Schlesinger
“Paul Krugman is the great discovery of recent American journalism. Lively, lucid, witty, superbly informed, his commentary on the state of the union is required reading for anyone concerned about the American future.”
Paul A. Samuelson
“The new Krugman book documents why this top-drawer academic economist deserves at least one Pulitzer Prize for his accurate Times op-ed columns that are a lone voice, telling things as they are and debunking Washington policies that are neither compassionate nor conservative. Plutocratic democracy is in the saddle. Rx. Krugman twice a week and in this coherent sum-up on relevant 2003-2010 economics. Buy. Read. Ponder. Benefit.”
bn.com
This collection of his incisive New York Times op-ed pieces by noted economist Paul Krugman examines the implosion of the '90s boom, assessing the disastrous effects of corporate scandals, scams, and deficit spending on the economy and assigning blame to the current administration. Krugman was the first mainstream columnist to ask the key questions about the Bush philosophy, and that fearless style is fully displayed here.
New York Review of Books
....It seems slightly scandalous that Krugman has persisted in noting that the present administration has been moving the lion's share of the money to an array of corporate interests distinguished by the greed of their CEOs, an indifference toward their workers, and boardroom conviction that it is the welfare state that is ruining the country. Krugman has been strident. He has been shrill. He has lowered the dignity of the commentariat. How refreshing.
Russell Baker
The New York Times
Krugman's best columns showcase his fluency in economics, analytical power and willingness to go out on a limb.—Peter Beinart
Publishers Weekly
"This is not, I'm sorry to say, a happy book," says Krugman in the introduction to this collection of essays culled from his twice-weekly New York Times op-ed column, and indeed, the majority of these short pieces range from moderately bleak political punditry to full-on "the sky is falling" doom and gloom. A respected economist, Krugman dissects political and social events of the past decade by watching the dollars, and his ideas are emphatic if not always well argued. He has a somewhat boyish voice and a pleasingly enthusiastic tone, although his enthusiasm sometimes leads him to take liberties with punctuation. The essays are grouped thematically instead of chronologically, which gives this audio adaptation a scattershot feel. Since these pieces were written over a long stretch of time, certain key ideas recur quite often-political reporters don't pay enough attention to the real news, the Bush administration is dishonest, big corporations are inherently untrustworthy-and can become tedious. To his credit, Krugman is not entirely partisan-he reveals himself to be a free-market apologist-and even listeners who disagree with most of the things he says will likely be taken in by his warm and energetic delivery. Simultaneous release with the Norton hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 18). (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
A Princeton economist turned New York Times columnist, Krugman combines colorful writing with astute economic analysis. This book is a collection of his columns from 2000 to 2003 (plus some earlier articles written for non-economists) with new introductory commentary. Krugman is a self-conscious outsider, an iconoclast who offers trenchant commentary on bad policy and bad business behavior, and much of the material here concerns what he considers the Bush administration's systematic deception of the public. In the introduction, he posits the existence of a revolutionary right-wing conspiracy — a term he does not use lightly. His commentary ranges from developments in Japan and Europe to financial crises and foreign trade policy, areas in which Krugman has made important contributions as an economist. He emerges as a strong, insightful critic of an unqualified "market-knows-best" world view.
Library Journal
Krugman, twice-weekly op-ed columnist for the New York Times and a Princeton economics teacher, shares his take on President Bush and the radical right and how the United States has "lost its way amid economic disappointment, bad leadership, and deceit." The book contains more than 100 of the author's Times columns published between January 2000 and January 2003 and a few extras published in Fortune magazine and at Slate.com, plus his added commentary that freshens the material. The articles cover the gamut of national economic and political issues that dominated the period, including the California energy crisis, the Bush administration's tax cuts, and the war on terrorism. Krugman, who is adamantly anti-right-wing, draws on his solid economics training and experience in these credible pieces, which transcend the rant that sadly fills today's political commentaries. Highly recommended for university and larger public libraries.-Dale Farris, Groves, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393326055
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/09/2004
Edition description:
Updated and Expanded Edition
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
732,212
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

I've tried to make this book more than a chronological sequence of columns. There is, of course, an element of chronology; each column was written on a particular date, and my views on some subjects have evolved, as new facts have come to light. But the columns are grouped according to major themes, and within each theme into "chapters" that focus on a particular subject. I've also added an Introduction that sets the political stage, and further additional material at the beginning of each thematic section, to put the columns into a broader perspective.

The columns begin with the rise and fall of America's stock market bubble, with all that went with it. As the pieces here show, I was always a stock market skeptic—though not, as you will see, skeptical enough. My focus on troubled economies abroad prepared me for the possibility that the United States would suffer serious economic difficulties once the bubble burst—though here again I initially understated the risks. What nobody realized was how thoroughly corrupted the U.S. corporate system had become; like everyone else, I played catch-up here.

The book turns next to the federal budget and the fate of Social Security. It's the story of a debt foretold. From the beginning it was obvious to me that George W. Bush's plans didn't add up, that he and his people were simply lying about all the important numbers, and that their plans would dissipate the budget surplus. It has played out just as I feared, but sooner and more forcefully than I expected. As I write these words, the administration has just conceded that the $230 billion surplus it inherited has been converted into a $300 billion deficit—and you know that's an underestimate.

How was such a misstep possible? In Part III, I go beyond economics pure and simple, trying to understand what has gone wrong with American politics. It seems to me now that many reasonable people, liberals and conservatives alike, still don't get it—as I explain in these columns, the real world of politics is much tougher and uglier than the picture most of us carry in our heads.

The last few years didn't just shake my faith in our political system; they were also a reminder that free markets, while often a very good thing, can sometimes go very badly wrong. Part IV describes some of the shocking failures of the market system in the last few years, from the California energy crisis to the catastrophe in Argentina.

Of course, there's more to the world, even the world of economics, than the ups and downs of the United States. The book concludes with a wider view—a look at the global economy, and at the tools we use to understand it.

This is not, I'm sorry to say, a happy book. It's mainly about economic disappointment, bad leadership, and the lies of the powerful. Don't despair: nothing has gone wrong in America that can't be repaired. But the first step in that repair job is understanding where and how the system got broken.


From The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century

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What People are saying about this

Paul A. Samuelson
The new Krugman book documents why this top-drawer academic economist deserves at least one Pulitzer Prize for his accurate Times op-ed columns that are a lone voice, telling things as they are and debunking Washington policies that are neither compassionate nor conservative. Plutocratic democracy is in the saddle. Rx. Krugman twice a week and in this coherent sum-up on relevant 2003-2010 economics. Buy. Read. Ponder. Benefit.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Paul Krugman is the great discovery of recent American journalism. Lively, lucid, witty, superbly informed, his commentary on the state of the union is required reading for anyone concerned about the American future.
Molly Ivins
You need to read this book, and when you do, you'll have only one response: it's time to get mad, for most of the media are in denial about how far the takeover of this country by the radical right has already progressed.
David Levering Lewis
The title of Paul Krugman's The Great Unraveling might well have been The Great Usurpation. In a republic hijacked by the radical right whose leaders reject the legitimacy of our current political system, Paul Krugman's coruscant book calls for a "great revulsion" across the land before it is too late.
Anthony Lewis
Paul Krugman is the indispensable American columnist, a voice of truth in a political world of lies and calculated injustice. This book is even better. It makes the case, unrestrained by deference, that a revolutionary right-wing movement is out to transform the United States-and is succeeding, rolling over a supine press and political opposition.
James Carville
If I had a tenth of Paul Krugman's brain and a twentieth his courage, I'd be the happiest person on the face of the Earth!

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Meet the Author

Paul Krugman is the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics. He is a best-selling author, columnist, and blogger for the New York Times, and is a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University.

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