As if on cue, Paul Krugman has seemingly responded to one of my readers who is convinced that the average Greek citizen deserves whatever travails that austerity brings.
The Krugman article is Welcome to the 1930s. He starts with the following paragraphs:
Martin Wolf is shrill (and rightly so). “Before now, I had never really understood how the 1930s could happen,” the Financial Times columnist wrote in an op-ed published on June 5.
“Now I do. All one needs are fragile economies, a rigid monetary regime, intense debate over what must be done, widespread belief that suffering is good, myopic politicians, an inability to co-operate and failure to stay ahead of events.”
Krugman ends with the following paragraphs:
Second — and this goes deeper — I suspect that we’re seeing the old Joseph Schumpeter “work of depressions” mentality: the notion that all the suffering going on somehow serves a necessary purpose and that it would be wrong to mitigate that suffering even slightly.
This doctrine has an undeniable emotional appeal for people who are themselves comfortable.
It’s also completely crazy given everything we’ve learned about economics these past 80 years.
But these are times of madness, dressed in good suits.
In a completely unscientific poll, I ask my readers if they believe that “all the suffering going on somehow serves a necessary purpose and that it would be wrong to mitigate that suffering even slightly?”