Though I made clear that I think Krugman’s prescription is a road to economic and perhaps societal disaster, I also don’t have that much faith in the Conservatives either. Though there are exceptions I don’t really see the Conservatives doing what needs to be done.
In the prior post I mentioned how Krugman accused the Conservatives of using the current economic crisis to further a “small government” agenda. It is laughable that Krugman believes the British Conservative party is some bastion of anarcho-capitalism. But his assertion got me thinking. Didn’t the establishment left try to use the current depression to further a broad statist agenda?
I think it can be said absolutely that they did, and they haven’t looked back. Industries have been nationalized, unions bought off, domestic spending vastly increased. This was the opportunity the left (and forgive me for using the left/right shorthand) had been waiting for. This was the crisis where the New Deal would be revived and the “progressive” dream realized. Remember this Time cover?
Or this one from Newsweek.
What worries Krugman is that despite having the opportunity to secure a statist mandate ala FDR for a generation, the Left has failed to do this since 2008. Why?
I believe it is because people are better informed than they were in the 1930s—by light years. Instead of accepting that technocrats know what they are doing in Washington and marching along in lock step with their bureaucratic overlords like much of America (and the world) did during the Great Depression, people have chosen instead to inform themselves. Many see that the “experts” are often wrong. Before the Internet a compliant media (and the old media is still compliant) did a good job of covering this up. Now the alternative media puts the leadership class on display with bright lights and without makeup.
The 20th Century cult of the “expert” is dying. People increasingly expect results and are less likely to take the word of those held up as thought leaders.
For “experts” such as Krugman this is deeply worrying. The rabble is actually taking some power. What worries him even more is that a large part of the rabble rejects collectivism.
Those stupid rubes don’t know what’s best for them. Haven’t these people noticed, I have a Nobel Prize in economics. I know what is right. I’ve been trained and I am validated every week in the New York Times. Smart people read the New York Times. Only backward hicks would reject my economic wisdom.
But reject it many do, not that the people who reject Krugman are backward or hicks. In fact the people who reject Krugman and his statist economic thinking are often the young, most informed, and most forward thinking. They are the libertarians, and increasingly they are leading the way.
Krugman sees a tide turning and he is not pleased. This moment in history was supposed to be for the statists. How can people really buy into this small state stuff? They must be too stupid to know better.
Or maybe they are just sick of being slaves.