Occupy Wall Street: No to Paul Krugman!
All of us on the left are very hopeful the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations will continue to expand and ultimately ignite a spark for true progressive change. Many on the center and center-left though are trying to corral this movement and channel it into safe, familiar, and centrist territory. Look no further than Ezra Klein’s article today in the Washington Post in which Paul Krugman is mentioned as a possible intellectual leader ready to command his troops. Watch out, “Krugman’s Army may be on its way.” Krugman points to this article and I’m sure he’s ready to accept command if offered.
As anyone who’s read this blog will know, I think it will be very disappointing if the protestors end up developing their demands around the views of a centrist such as Paul Krugman. It’s a real risk since Krugman, with his perch on the New York Times and his Nobel prize under his belt, is widely seen as a key intellectual on the left, the very “conscience of a liberal”.
I can see Krugman’s army marching proudly into lower Manhattan with bright flags and posters all proclaiming their leader’s vision. The sad truth though is that the banners would read something like this:
Don’t Print Money!
Never Permit Unemployment to Fall Below the Natural Rate!
We Need a 5% Consumption Tax!
No Fiscal Policy Unless We’re at the Zero Bound!
Thank You Multinational Corporations for Reducing Global Poverty!
Bad Jobs at Bad Wages are Better than No Jobs at All!
Let’s Praise Cheap Labor!
Inflation is the Solution!
Capitalism is Good!
While surprising to many, these are all positions held by Krugman. I’ve posted a number of times on this subject, here’s the most recent. Wall Street and the assorted fans of the status quo will be quite relieved if OWS ends up taking Krugman as their leader.