Friday, September 10, 2010

Nobel Paul in Japan

Krugman flew in a few days ago and has been blogging on his NYT blog about Japan. A day or so ago, he wrote that the biggest single reason for the decline in Japan's GDP is the aging of working-age population. He now has a NYT op-ed Things Could Be Worse.*

Like their Japanese counterparts, American policy makers initially responded to a burst bubble and a financial crisis with half-measures.

I recall some pretty aggressive action by the US back in the last quarter or so of 2008. What's the "Like their Japanese counterparts" stuff?

So I find myself almost envying the Japanese. Yes, their performance has been disappointing. But things could have been worse. And the case Democrats now need to make — the case the president finally began to make in Cleveland this week — is that if Republicans regain power, things will indeed be worse.

Always happy to read Krugman as I know I am getting the unbiased opinion of an economist, not a politician.

(The comment section of this op-ed---now closed---is full of entertaining and informative comments. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Japan, in contrast to the US, has a very good unemployment insurance system. Where does that kind of horse manure come from? [added later] A few challenged Krugman's assertions about Japan very well, I thought.)

*Yes, for example there could be 40,000 suicides per year---many related to economic problems----instead of 30,000. "Things could be worse." Noble Laureate.


  1. But Nobel prize-winners are always worthy winners, like Our/Your/Somebody's president. Besides, he has a beard, and you can trust pundits with beards. Krugman, not Obama. Though I'd trust Obama over Krugman, maybe.


  2. I have a beard, short, but still a beard. I await my Noble Prize. Unfortunately, I cannot spell "Nobel" which might disqualify me.

    Naw. Look at the recent recipients.

  3. Jeffrey7:48 AM

    At least Krugman likes Japan and the Japanese. The worst horse shit I ever read in the NYT about Japan was by Tom "the Mustache of Understanding" Friedman. I figure, if he gets this so wrong, what else is he wrong about? Well, pretty much everything with regard to U.S. foreign policy post-9/11. But I digress.

  4. Ahh...You missed the Martin Fackler story about the vending machine and post box disguises made for those who wish to avoid becoming victims of crime. Don't be too hard on Tom. "The Earth is Flat," after all.