A Closer Look

Structural Unemeployment | In the long run we are all dead and in the short run, there is a lot of pain

Krugman: So now we’re in another depression, not as bad as the last one, but bad enough. And, once again, authoritative-sounding figures insist that our problems are “structural,” that they can’t be fixed quickly. We must focus on the long run, such people say, believing that they are being responsible. But the reality is that they’re being deeply irresponsible.

What does it mean to say that we have a structural unemployment problem? The usual version involves the claim that American workers are stuck in the wrong industries or with the wrong skills…

In fact, we’re suffering not from the teething pains of some kind of structural transition that must gradually run its course but rather from an overall lack of sufficient demand — the kind of lack that could and should be cured quickly with government programs designed to boost spending.John Maynard Keynes had these peoples’ number more than 80 years ago. “But this long run,” he wrote, “is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the sea is flat again.”

Job Market Monitor’s version : In the long run we are all dead and in the short run, there is a lot of pain.

Source :

via Easy Useless Economics – NYTimes.com.

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