Krugman: Plutocracy Versus Democracy


Great Krugman piece today: Plutocrats Against Democracy. This is not just an American challenge, but a global one:

So we should be grateful to Leung Chun-ying, the Beijing-backed leader of Hong Kong, for blurting out the real reason pro-democracy demonstrators can’t get what they want: With open voting, “You would be talking to half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month. Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies” — policies, presumably, that would make the rich less rich and provide more aid to those with lower incomes.

Krugman nails it in his conclusion:

The truth is that a lot of what’s going on in American politics is, at root, a fight between democracy and plutocracy. And it’s by no means clear which side will win. [emphasis mine]

It’s been interesting to watch Krugman’s views evolve on this issue. Just a few years ago, he saw extreme inequality as wrong, but not a critical economic issue. Now, he considers it existential.

And note well: This is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing. Pretty much all Republicans are on the wrong side of this fight, but plenty of Democrats are as well. Often, they call themselves Blue Dogs, or New Democrats. To tolerate them is to tolerate plutocracy.

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Bob Lord
Bob is a tax and business lawyer who had given up on politics until deciding to run for Congress in 2008 (CD3), when he tried to unseat John Shadegg. He since has returned to his law practice and golf addiction. Bob has been writing for Blog For Arizona since late 2011, concentrating mostly on federal issues, with an occasional foray into Arizona state politics.


  1. Yeah, Stiglitz too. He was a proponent of globalization until he saw what it was really about and changed his tune.

    • Globalization in theory is a good thing. The lower end manufacturing jobs, in textiles for example, move to poorer countries. The result is the empowerment of women, which drives down the fertility rate and lifts the standard of living, among other positives.

      The problem of course is that the multinationals corrupted the process and caused globalization to drive wealth to the top 1%, at the expense of everyone else.

  2. Yeah, Krugman has evolved on inequality. It’s funny how the smartest people in the world can take a while to see what is plainly obvious to a lot of us common folks. Dean Baker is the one economist I’m familiar with who has always gotten it.

    • Dean’s awesome, but there are others. Krugman always opposed extreme inequality, he just changed his view on how it impacts the economy. Stiglitz has always gotten it. And of course there’s Thomas Piketty.

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