Now, the tide may be turning, and in Paul Krugman, the world's most widely read economist and one of its most influential political commentators, charts the way to reform.
Krugman ranges over a century of history and shows that neither the American middle-class nor the baby boomers who grew up in the increasingly oligarchic nation we have become over the past generation evolved naturally. Both were created, to a large extent, by government policies guided by organized political movements.
The Conscience of a Liberal promises to reshape public debate about American social policy and become a touchstone work for an entire generation.
©2007 Paul Krugman; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"A compelling historical defense of liberalism and a clarion call for Americans to retake control of their economic destiny." (Publishers Weekly)
I never fully realized what a historical anomaly the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s were. Krugman makes the case that those few decades brought us closer to the vision of our founding fathers than any other time in our history: broad consensus, expanding middle class, a flatter society. The past 30 years have seen the pendulum swing back, a return to the Gilded Age, authoritarianism, corporatism, a disappearing middle class, and a highly privileged few. The founders of our country fought their revolution against the authoritarians and oligarchs of their time. We must do the same against ours.
This book is a must read (listen?).
This is one of those books you should get college credit just for listening to. You may find yourself replaying the chapters again and again in order to fully grasp the concepts. Very well written and presented. The narrator is one of the best I have heard. Overall very interesting information if you agree with the author on everything or not.
If you want to become an informed citizen and not throw away your ballot in what is looking more and more like the most important election in fifty years, this book, along with former Vice President Al Gore’s recent book, are required reading. Presented in a manor easy to understand, even with statistical research thrown in, Mr Krugman's attack on Movement Conservatism and its threat to all things we hold sacred hits like an approaching storm. His antidotes to get us back on track are well thought out and seem amazingly reachable, like the calm after the storm is over.
Five stars also go to the reader. It's read like it was actually written by him.
Krugman goes beyond economics by placing the current economic issues that plague the U.S. into their historical and political context. Easy to understand but not "dumbed down".
Imagine the best teacher you've ever had. Not the flashy one who thinks he's god's gift to the field or always right. The one who's interesting because he has the quiet confidence of somone who has thought a LOT about a subject and cares passionately about ideas and their effects in the real world. And so he needs you really to understand and consider the points he's making.
Now imagine he's talking to you (well, almost, the narrator is good and not so far off) about something where, if you agree with him, there's a limited time to take concrete steps so that good ideas have the best chance of getting implemented in ways that will make the majority of people's lives a lot better.
If that sounds good, then get this book. Even if you disagree with some of it, unless you're Tom Delay and just want to go around bitch slapping people (or countries) who dare to contradict you, you will still take away a lot.
Every legal American Citizen willing to work and contribute to their society should be entitled to the highest lifestyle the aggregate efforts of that society can confer.
Paul Krugman does a fine job of explaining how the very rich and their minions have hijacked America and why the middle class must stop them.
If you love your country and your fellow legal citizens, digesting this book is is well worth your consideration and invested time.
Having read or listened to this book, write your own evaluation, and also become one of Krugman's Progressives. You owe it to America.
If you are already convinced of the liberal position, I suppose this book would serve as a good champagne bath. If, however, you'd like a more substantive presentation of the position, I recommend The Law of Peoples by John Rawls.
This book has turned me off to other books by Dr. Krugman. I hoped a scholar of his renown would be able to deliver a deep defense of the positions he holds. Instead, I found a purely emotive presentation of his worldview. I was very disappointed, and will look elsewhere in the future when consuming material on liberal political ideology.
I went in to this book as a Libertarian hoping to gain perspective on the underlying logic of the liberal worldview. Instead, Dr. Krugman delivers a shallow diatribe against the wealthy and in favor of redistribution of wealth without ever addressing the philosophical underpinnings of the position. Beginning from the apparently axiomatic point that the wealthy owe a debt to the poor, Dr. Krugman spends his book outlining the various ways in which societal problems could be addressed if only we would tax the wealthy or regulate Wall Street. Absent is any defense of why it is justified to do these things. I really wanted to like this book; sadly, I did not.
Lest you think I merely hated the book because I disagreed with the premise, I would suggest that the work of John Rawls provides a much more satisfying read. I still do not agree with his premises, but I greatly enjoyed his precise logic and feel that I better understand the liberal position after reading his work.
I wasn't an avid reader of Krugman's columns or books, so I didn't realize the treat I was in for. The knowledge and conveyance of history and economics are unparalleled, and the politcal analysis is astute. One of those books where I listen every chance I get until I reach the end. I might even listen to the whole thing again. It's just that good. Solid narrator, too.
I was very disappointed in this book, especially how out dated it was. I think it would be a much better book if the author would just update it to this decade.
It's hard to disagree with anything Krugman says. He cites overwhelming evidence that the American dream for the middle class is under attack from the radical right.
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