June 18, 2012 Leave a Comment
…many things you hear about Greece just aren’t true. The Greeks aren’t lazy — on the contrary, they work longer hours than almost anyone else in Europe, and much longer hours than the Germans in particular. Nor does Greece have a runaway welfare state, as conservatives like to claim; social expenditure as a percentage of G.D.P., the standard measure of the size of the welfare state, is substantially lower in Greece than in, say, Sweden or Germany, countries that have so far weathered the European crisis pretty well.
So how did Greece get into so much trouble? Blame the euro.
And, as he says at the end, the election “ended up settling nothing.” Or, it kicked the can further down the road. Baring a miracle far greater than multiplying loaves for a few thousand, a reckoning will come due, well within our life-times.
for more Krugman, here’s some couched praise by Economist writer, Matthew Bishop of Krugman’s new book: End This Depression Now!
Longtime readers of Krugman will know there are at least two of him. One is the gifted winner of the Nobel in economic science, respected throughout the academy for his mastery of the dismal science; the other, the populist polemicist and baiter of the right who writes columns in The New York Times. “End This Depression Now!” is a collaborative effort by the two Krugmen. Professor Krugman usefully contributes plenty of mainstream economics in support of his stimulus plan and in order to debunk the idea that austerity policies in today’s circumstances can boost an economy by increasing confidence. (As he points out, Britain, the leading country to embrace austerity voluntarily, is hardly setting the world on fire.) Yet no opportunity to preach to the choir is missed by the populist Mr. Krugman, nor any chance to mock those he calls the “Very Serious People” who disagree with him.