How did economists get it so wrong? Essay

How did economists get it so wrong? Essay

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Shortly after the financial crisis in 2008, many economists had to rethink their approach to the market. Everyone knew we had a panic because the stock market and the housing market collapsed. American economy was reaching to the bottom. Many people considered it as a second worst recession after the great the Great Depression. But what was the cause? Who were responsible for the crisis? What can we learn from this turmoil? In the recent New York Times Sunday magazine article, Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman offered his explanation for the causes and insight toward fixing the economy.
In the article, Krugman addresses several problems underlying the recent state of the economy. He traces the cause for our recession all the way back to academia. The problem is rather subtle. He argues that faulty thinking about the market is the primary reason that has led to the 2008 and 2009 recession. The crisis has evoked the two schools of macroeconomics thought for long have stayed dormant: the “freshwater” and the “saltwater” economist. Both have their own ideology in resolving the crisis.
As Krugman put it “freshwater economists are, essentially, neoclassical purists.” They assume that people are rational and markets work. They do recognize the use of Keynesian theory but just do not trust the government interference. Therefore, they usually prefer monetary policy over fiscal policy. On the other hand, Krugman says that “saltwater economists are pragmatists.” Their approach is to do apply any methods that can keep the economy running smoothly whether it’s a fiscal or monetary policy. They usually favor Keynesian theory.
Freshwater economists base their practices on the perfect market. They trust that the market system will not ever fa...


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...hould accept the inconvenient truth that the markets sometimes do not function properly. Second, economists should re-embrace Keynesian practice because it does offer a legitimate answer for economic downturns. Finally, they should consider the realities of finance in the world of macroeconomics (Krugman 2009). As an upcoming economist from George Mason, primarily a “freshwater” school, I find the first suggestion a bit difficult for me to accept. I think the best option right now is to stay neutral and open-minded because I still have a lot to learn about economics.



Works Cited

Krugman, Paul. "How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?" How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? The New York Times, 2 Sept. 2009. Web. 09 May 2011. .

Mankiw, N. Gregory. Macroeconomics. 7th ed. New York, NY: Worth, 2009. Print.

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