Paul Krugman

Life And Times During The Great Depression

I thought the Depression was going to go on forever. For six or seven years, it didn’t look as though things were getting better. The people in Washington DC said they were, but ask the man on the road? He was hungry and his clothes were ragged and he didn’t have a job. He didn’t think things were picking up.”

Keynes: How A Witch Doctor Convinced The World He's A Neurosurgeon

In the Middle Ages, no matter what ailed you, the doctor had one cure: attaching leeches to your body. Today, modern medicine has discredited leeches as a cure-all. We look back on it and laugh. “How could we have been so stupid?" Some things haven’t changed much. The average person is still willing to blindly accept conventional thinking—maybe even more so than he was in the past. Today, he hears the financial equivalent of “more leeches!” and agrees. Conventional wisdom and economic “experts” continually prescribe treatments that we will no doubt look back on and say, “How could we have been so stupid?”

Stephen Roach: "Central Banking Has Lost Its Way, Is In Crisis"

In what could well be a final act of desperation, central banks are abdicating effective control of the economies they have been entrusted to manage. First came zero interest rates, then quantitative easing, and now negative interest rates – one futile attempt begetting another. Just as the first two gambits failed to gain meaningful economic traction in chronically weak recoveries, the shift to negative rates will only compound the risks of financial instability and set the stage for the next crisis.

The Four Horsemen Of Economic Apocalypse Are Here

"...the economic patient is riddled with cancer - central banks are applying a defibrillator, but there's only so much electricity the patient can take before it becomes a burnt-out corpse."

Brazil's Easy-Money Problem

Brazil’s current crisis is nothing but an outcome of government’s meddling with the market. The scenario of the country’s economy is indeed scary, but we have reason to believe that Brazil’s intellectual situation is going through a new and promising change. It may be true, as Lord Keynes said, that “in the long run we are all dead,” but if we are to get out of this terrible crisis, to prosper and to enjoy a constant improvement in our standard of living, “it is high time to transform the country’s state capitalism into a free market system.”

Capital Controls Are Coming

The carnage always comes by surprise, often on an otherwise ordinary Saturday morning... The government declares a surprise bank holiday. It shuts all the banks. It imposes capital controls to stop citizens from taking their money out of the country. At that point, the government is free to help itself to as much of the country’s wealth as it wants. It’s an all-you-can-steal buffet. This story has recently played out in Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, and Iceland. And those are only a few recent examples. It’s happened in scores of other countries throughout history. And we think it’s inevitable in the U.S.

Fantasy? North Korea's "Hangover-Free Alcohol" Or America's "Consequence-Free Debt"

While we may poke fun at North Koreans’ gullibility, frankly we don’t find the idea of ‘hangover-free alcohol’ any dumber or less deceptive than the idea of ‘consequence-free debt’. Or the idea that you can print your way to prosperity. Hangover-free alcohol is pretty silly. But in the West, we believe the biggest lies of all...

 

China Warns No "V-Shaped" Recovery Is Coming; Says "There Will Be No Strong Economic Stimulus"

Maybe because not enough people caught the dire warning the first time, moments ago Bloomberg reported that Han Jun, the deputy director of China’s office of the central leading group for financial and economic afairs, spoke at an event at the Chinese consulate in New York and practically reiterated the anonymous source's warning practically verbatim. To wit: "There won’t be a strong economic stimulus and people shouldn’t expect a V-shape recovery; instead long period of L-shape growth path is likely" said Han, who participated in the drafting of China’s latest five year plan.

Sweden Prepares For FX "War" With Bloodthirsty Hedge Funds

Look out Stefan Ingves, the 2 and 20 crowd smells blood: "The market seems eager to challenge the Riksbank and there are rumors that many foreign hedge funds are long kronor and see a weakening of the krona after a possible intervention as a good buying opportunity.”

"When Is The Crash Going To Happen?" - Mark Spitznagel Revisits "The Ticking Time Bomb"

Timing a crash can be a fool's errand, and fortunately such efforts are largely irrelevant if you are tail hedging (though they are quite relevant if you aren't). But this doesn't mean that exercises in timing are without merit. Without a doubt (or at least with over 99% confidence), bad things happen with increasing expectation when conditioning on higher Q ratios ex ante. Factoring time into the equation, and again based on history, the confidence interval around the median time would point to an expectation that the crash should commence right about now.

Blowing Up The Death Star Didn't Destroy The Empire, Building It Did

A closer look at Star Wars economics highlights that any hope for Galactic harmony does not come from the return of the Jedi, but from embracing capitalism. After all, a true market economy would make the construction of a Death Star nearly impossible in the first place.

Dead, White, & Blue - The Great Die-Off Of America's Blue Collar Whites

While the lifespan of affluent whites continues to lengthen, the lifespan of poor whites has been shrinking. As a result, in just the last four years, the gap between poor white men and wealthier ones has widened by up to four years. This was not supposed to happen. For almost a century, the comforting American narrative was that better nutrition and medical care would guarantee longer lives for all. So the great blue-collar die-off has come out of the blue and is, as the Wall Street Journal says, startling.”