Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future

Norton. Jan. 2020. 464p. ISBN 9781324005018. $29.95. BUS
In this collection, Nobel Prize–winning economist Krugman presents short essays, mostly written since 2003 as columns for The New York Times, as well as several longer pieces. He groups the writings in topical sections covering Social Security, tax reform, health care, trade, inequality, politics, the 2008 financial crisis, and other pertinent subjects. Krugman does not shy away from controversy, and considers zombies to be people who cannot accept that their ideas are factually wrong. In one essay on Social Security, he calls out the Bush Administration for lying about the benefits of privatization. He describes Representative Paul Ryan as the flimflam man, the Trump tax cut as a scam, and Fox News as a Republican propaganda outlet. Though the older essays come across as somewhat dated, they recount the debates of the time, and Krugman updates them with more recent ones along with unifying introductions to each section. His essays before 2004 are included in the 2003 collection The Great Unraveling.
VERDICT While Krugman’s rousing, jargon-free writings will please progressive readers, they will be disconcerting to many conservative ones. An informative and controversial study combining business and political science.

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