New Labour indeed


Gordon Brown gets a good review. The reviewer gets to polish his resumé.

UPDATE: At the Grauniad, a columnist connects the dots. At the Telly, not a word about the Nobel. Somebody’s grumpy? Presumably they’ll get round to it.

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New Labour indeed

  1. Yes, that’s cool. Not Brown. Krugman.

  2. Kind of cool about Brown too, from where I sit. This money stuff is way over my head, but it’s good to hear he’s not useless. He didn’t use to look useless.

  3. I think we can expect some of his apple to be polished by the esteemed Mr. Mandelson.

  4. I watched Krugman sound intelligent and prescient on the George Stephanopoulos Round Table yesterday…while George Will tried to look like a wise man (didn’t succeed yesterday)…..
    Krugman made one especially pointed statement – in a sweeping dismissal of Paulson / Beranke and their flip flops – and the fact that the got their legislation two weeks ago…
    they have distributed any capital boost yet..
    in contrast – Brown’s government made the call Wednesday – and money will be hitting the banks today….

    I guess the difference is – when you are a government of absolute free markets and your Treasury Secretary is a fox in the chicken coop – it’s hard to throw out decades of Friedman-esque trickle down theory and letting the marketplace decide…while Brown grew up in a party that has some experience in its past of nationalizing private sector enterprises…

    Assuming Obama is now assured of election – bar some dire October surprise – I wonder if Krugman is under consideration as HIS Treasury Secretary?

  5. Paul Krugman’s work is on economic geography (where he is certainly a leading light and deserving of a Nobel) and trade, and then there is his foray into strategic trade theory (which he has disavowed). He hasn’t published serious academic work since 1991, and his columns constantly bash a president who, by the metric he sets up in The Age of Diminished Expectations (productivity growth is the most important variable) is doing a great job.

    I don’t see why his praise of Brown’s approach (and we have yet to see whether Brown’s approach will work) to a problem economists (who, unlike Krugman, are experts in finance, or more relevant areas of economics) don’t entirely understand is especially valuable.

    I have a read a lot of very crappy stuff from Nobel laureates that moved outside their area of expertise (this one guy chastised political scientists for not focusing on the effects of different voting systems… uhh… please read the actual political science literature before drawing that conclusion).

    PS: for the record I extend that to Milton Friedman too, who is not exactly wrong on the causes of the Depression, but whose explanation is so myopically reductionist that he misses the constraints imposed by the Gold Standard for the individual actions of the fed.

  6. I think Brown has some work to do before he can get too excited. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer for a decade before becoming PM last year and it’s his policies that have got the UK in the mess they currently are in. Brown also said a few times, while Chancellor, that boom and bust were a thing of the past because he was so clever that he knew how to avoid it.

    According to the Independent, the most left wing msm in UK, Mandelson is an old stalinst while Brown is an old trot but now they are both champagne socialists. I am not confident that these two will actually be able to turn things around, but we’ll see.

    Wascally W

    The Brits can do things faster than the Americans because of Parliamentary system doesn’t really have any checks and balances and the PM can basically do whatever he likes while American pols are way more responsive to their constituents and have to build consensus within Congress.

  7. I hope this one turns out better than when President Bush found his reason for being.

  8. Ti-Guy, true, the machine demands a sacrifice. I believe that part of Brown’s initiative demands that the City folk yield their expectation of bonuses. heh,heh. And I suppose there’s some morbid satisfaction that at least one British banker has thrown himself under a train. And I read that Canary Wharf looks like a neutron bomb hit it. Small consolation, I know.
    But the wonderful irony of it all is that the people that will (proportionally) bear the brunt of all this garbage will probably toss Brown out and elect the Tories.

  9. What about reaction from the Canadian papers’ editorialists? I know there’s a holiday here — but there are obviously still a couple of diligent columnists working today. I know at least one Canadian newspaper was not a great fan of Krugman back in the day…

  10. “But the wonderful irony of it all is that the people that will (proportionally) bear the brunt of all this garbage will probably toss Brown out and elect the Tories.”

    Why would that be ironic? Seems sensible to me that you toss out the pols that put you in the mess in the first place.


    I was just reading Telegraph article about Cons finally starting to attack Labour on its handling of this mess. I have been complaining for a couple of weeks that Harper was not using other countries as examples for why we are ok here, at least compared to other countries, and I have same point to make for UK shadow chancellor. He’s trying to make a case for Brown’s incompetence but is not using Canada as an example of how things could have been different, wonder if he will start to do that or not.

    Have to use examples to prove your point. Right now, I am sure most people think there isn’t much to be done, all countries are in this mess but they aren’t. Point that out and it will help you to win the argument.

  11. Nice to see Krugman get some recognition for his academic work. I suppose this will give the American right another opportunity to call him “elitist”, like that’s a bad thing.

  12. jwl- I’ve felt that the reason the Conservatives here haven’t attacked Brown et al too much on their handling of the economy is that (*massive oversimplification*) they essentially wanted them to go farther, to deregulate more etc. They made lots of hay from the spending projections not having accounted for a recession, for not having built a contingency fund, but Osbourne hasn’t found a position on the handling of the banks yet that’s done him too much credit.

  13. Just last week, Krugman posted a model of the current financial crisis on his NYT blog. Which he was using to think through his editorials on the topic, while teaching at Princeton. It’s wonderful to see the Nobel go to someone this productive, relevant and public. And maybe it will help the Americans move away from the initial Paulson plan to something closer to the UK plan – and completely bury the rubbish the Republican party was pushing for (insurance for the injured, less transparent accounting).

  14. Jameson

    My impression of Osborne is that he’s a bit clueless and that’s why he’s floundering. I am a big fan of Simon Heffer at Telegraph, he’s been scathing of the Dave and George show, and I mostly agree with his analysis.

    George, who lacks any economics education, has pledged to stick to Labour spending plans if Tories win the next election, which is nonsense on stilts for a Con shadow chancellor to say/think/do.

  15. STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – U.S. economist Paul Krugman, a fierce critic of the Bush administration for policies that he argues led to the current financial crisis, won the 2008 Nobel prize for economics on Monday.

    The Nobel committee said the award was for Krugman’s work that helps explain why some countries dominate international trade, starting with research published nearly 30 years ago.

    ….keep in mind, the Bush – “conservative” economic policies are the same in the US and Canada….

  16. Sandi

    ….keep in mind, the Bush – “conservative” economic policies aren’t the same in the US and Canada and that’s why our banking system isn’t experiencing a meltdown at the moment….

  17. Mmm, yes. Good banking system. Nice banking system.
    Had to be told to back off 40 yr. mortgages.
    Took big write-downs related to magic dust credit swaps.
    Had a 0.5 rate drop thrown into the cage. Ate half it.
    Billions in gummint guarantees.
    And it’s only election day.

    They’re not even part way down their list yet.

  18. Krugman doesn’t note that Brown went through the same type of dithering — a series of other policies before finally deciding to nationalize — with Northern Rock, the British mortgage lender that got into trouble several months ago. The Economist was calling for equity/nationalization of Northern Rock from the start, but Brown took a long while to get there. Maybe that’s even why he was quicker to the right solution this time.

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