Friday, March 11, 2016

Tom Palley on Paul Krugman and Free Trade

Tom's new post titled 'Self-Protectionist Moment: Paul Krugman Protects Himself and the Establishment' criticizes Krugman's role as an establishment economist and defender of free trade. He says:
Paul Krugman has a new op-ed ('A Protectionist Moment?') in which he tries to walk away from his own contribution as an elite trade economist to the damage done by globalization, while also lending his political support to Hillary Clinton and the neoliberal globalization wing of the Democratic Party. 
His article inadvertently spotlights all that is wrong with the economics profession through the lens of the trade debate. 
On one hand, Krugman writes 'So the elite case for ever-freer trade is largely a scam, which voters probably sense even if they don’t know exactly what form it’s taking. On the other hand, he writes 'In this, as in many other things, Sanders currently benefits from the luxury of irresponsibility: he’s never been anywhere close to the levers of power, so he could take principled-sounding but arguably feckless stances in a way that Clinton couldn’t and can’t.'

Krugman has been a booster of trade and globalization for thirty years: marginally more restrained than other elite economists, but still a booster."
Read full post here.

PS: I had discussed recently Krugman's history as a free trader turned 'protectionist' (note that I personally don't like the terms free trader or protectionist; t's all about managed trade, and how and for what purpose to manage it) here. As I noted, behind the veneer of change "Krugman remains as conventional as he can be. He avoids telling you that trade has negative distributive effects, and that it might negatively affect industrial employment, and potential growth."

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