Sunday, February 19, 2012

Maybe You’ll Listen Now?

I told you so. I’ve been telling you. Do you listen to me? No.

Economics is boring. Who cares about some Jewish guy that spouts a bunch of numbers in The New York Times says anyway?


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PLAYBOY: How does this affect the American tradition of a strong middle class?

KRUGMAN: What we know is that the New Deal era produced a big leveling; it basically turned us into a middle-class country, and it stuck. The question is not why it happened but why it stuck. It was unions. The thing about unions is they don’t just negotiate higher wages for their members. They also have an effect on people who are not unionized. It’s probably true that the union movement was a big factor in our having a largely middle-class country. The destruction of unions outside the public sector is an important factor in our no longer being a middle-class country. People say, “Oh, we can’t maintain unions in the modern globalized economy.” But then you see advanced countries where it works—Canada has had some decline in unionization but nothing like ours. It was a political decision. The best generation of economic growth we’ve ever had was the 25 years or so after 1947, which was a period of high unionization and high marginal tax rates. This is just an excuse for what amounts to pushing down the standards of U.S. workers”

(Insert line about reading Playboy for the articles.) Try not to get distracted by the advertising.

Playboy Interview: Paul Krugman

Don Brown
February 19, 2012

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