Paul Krugman on ‘The Alchemists’

May 19, 2013 No Comments by Neil

In his review of The Alchemists, Mark Blyth’s Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea and David A. Stockman’s The Great Deformation in the New York Review of Books, Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist offers a long and rich essay of how the advanced world moved toward austerity in a time of economic weakness, with, in his view, catastrophic results. He notes that:

Neil Irwin’s The Alchemists gives us a time and a place at which the major advanced countries abruptly pivoted from stimulus to austerity. The time was early February 2010; the place, somewhat bizarrely, was the remote Canadian Arctic settlement of Iqaluit, where the Group of Seven finance ministers held one of their regularly scheduled summits. Sometimes (often) such summits are little more than ceremonial occasions, and there was plenty of ceremony at this one too, including raw seal meat served at the last dinner (the foreign visitors all declined). But this time something substantive happened. “In the isolation of the Canadian wilderness,” Irwin writes, “the leaders of the world economy collectively agreed that their great challenge had shifted. The economy seemed to be healing; it was time for them to turn their attention away from boosting growth. No more stimulus.”

Read the full review/essay here.

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