Last Friday I heard NY Times columnist Paul Krugman be interviewed by Chris Lydon at the First Parish Church in Harvard Square. (He also appeared on Fresh Air the same day.) Krugman spoke to the packed crowd on topics from his new book, “The Great Unraveling”.
He made several points that I agree with, namely about media giving equal time to both sides as a substitute for in-depth analysis. His amusing quote,
"If Bush said the earth is flat ... mainstream media would have stories with the headline: 'Shape of Earth: Views Differ.'"
And I was happy to hear Krugman asserting that the WTO and free trade are not evil and mostly better than the alternative (especially given the crowd he was speaking before). That it is better to let small countries collectively bargain within a framework than let each deal with much larger countries individually.
But, for me, Krugman inserts himself too much into his criticism. He called himself a “Jeremiah” and more than once implied that he is the only one that sees the impending crisis. And with the crowd who seemed mostly in awe, it could feel a little much. There were some good questions that asked why he hasn’t focused on issues of global economics and asked him to lay out a positive roadmap to fiscal responsibility.
For a more substantative interview, check out Lydon’s interview with developmental economist Jeffrey Sachs.