Paul Krugman – Pop Internationalism

I read Paul Krugman’s Pop Internationalism (1996) over the past two days. It’s well-written and a quick read. Krugman savagely demolishes bad arguments made by those that subscribed to “competitiveness” theories, thought that NAFTA would have massive impacts (good or bad) upon the United States, and made other errors. This short tome should be part of any international economics library. My only complaint is that, due to the book being a collection of previously published articles, some messages are repeated too frequently in the course of 220 pages.

Some may find the discussion of NAFTA, international competitiveness, and the Clinton administration quaintly dated. But one of the most important lessons in international economics (which you can learn from following Jagdish Bhagwati or reading Against the Tide) is that errors rear their heads again and again under guises that historically aware economists will recognize as old hat. For example, the competitiveness bug seems to have bitten Malcolm Gladwell.

There’s still much to learn from this classic collection of essays, and it’s under $8 including shipping.