Friday, 23 March 2018

Videos and transcripts of the great economist of our times - Paul Krugman - speech on 17th Mar 2018 on Indian economy and Q&A session afterwards

Work-In-Progress Post: I had been planning to put this post with a transcript of Paul Krugman's speech and Q&A. But I have got caught up in other things. So I decided to put up a work-in-progress post where I hope to keep updating and finish the transcripts over the next few days.

What a privilege it was for me to listen to Paul Krugman's speech about Indian economy and the later Q&A session!! This man is a great gift for humanity, in my considered opinion. As I have come to expect of Paul Krugman from the many New York Times articles I have read of his, he spoke the truth as he saw it and in a way that could be understood by non-economists like me. Now I am not saying that he could not be mistaken in some of his assessments and views. But those would be honest mistakes. This man has an awesome capacity to understand economy related truths, analyze it and convey it to non-economist laymen.

His speech touched upon world economy over a large period of time from the 1870s onwards. 1870 to 1913 economic boom years; Two world wars and intervening depression period; post World War II upto the mid 80s; globalization wave from late 1980s through USA recession and now uncertain waters; The latter period of globalization from late 1980s was the period when India whose economy was under-performing quite badly, took a dramatic turn for the better and surprised many people by its extraordinary growth, including Paul Krugman himself. Krugman is characteristically truthful about what he considered to be poor prospects of Indian economy (and other similar countries' economies) prior to the mid 1980s!

He also is frank about challenges India faces in its attempts to improve its economy and get closer to advanced economies of North Western Europe and USA, suggesting that corruption is a major area to resolve. He said that you cannot become Denmark with corruption levels of China! Perhaps that was unkind to China as he seems to have meant India but as India was his host, used China instead which too has serious level of corruption.

I plan to check whether transcripts are available of his speech and Q&A. I also plan to study his speech and the Q&A session. This is great education for me from a really great economist of our times.

Here are the two video links:

1) Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman's Speech LIVE at #News18RisingIndia Summit,, 56 min. 39 secs.,  published 17th March 2018

2) The Q&A: Nobel laureate Paul Krugman Exclusive at #News18RisingIndia,, 13 min. 29 secs., published 17th March 2018


Paul Krugman, the big man today in economics as explained to layman, in India on India

A small extract from it:

Krugman said that India has achieved much more economic growth in 30 years than Britain had achieved in 150 years, but what made the feat less conspicuous was the high level of income inequality in the country. License raj, which constrained growth in the past, has come down substantially, although not gone completely, said the economist.

News18 Rising India Summit | India's Story Can Either be Next Wave of Globalisation or Mass Unemployment: Economist Paul Krugman,, 17th March 2018


Transcript from above mentioned youtube video of Krugman speech, []:

[Around 01:15]
Ah well good morning everyone. Thank you to network 18 for the invitation. Thank you all for being here. And okay I'm going to try to keep a little track of time here.

I'm not an expert on India that's that I hope will be clear. I do have some a fair bit to say about India in the context of the world economy but I want to start by talking about some more global issues and then focusing on where India fits into the story. And I actually thought that it would be interesting perhaps to give you a little bit of a personal retrospective that may seem a little odd here but I think it's relevant so I'm I.

[Around 02:20]
I went to graduate school in the 1970s. I got my PhD in in that decade and at that point in one's life you need to decide what your specialty is going to be. What area is going to be the piece of economics that you're going to focus on and it was clear to me that from the point of view of serving humanity what I really should work on was development economics. There was no issue more important to the world, still is no issue more important to the world, than the question of how to help poorer countries become less poor. And I didn't do it because I was a coward, because in the 1970s development economics was a deeply depressing field. In the 1970s development economics was mostly non development economics. It was about the question of why poor countries didn't seem to be able to get richer? Why there didn't seem to be any convergence? Why they the Division of the world between wealthy nations and poor nations seem to have stabilized, seem to have frozen, and there was really no progress in closing that gap? Why our [other?] countries were not making their way up?

[Around 03:40]
In other words, it was a very, very different world from the one that we live in today which is a world in which we have seen extraordinary development successes in a number of countries, very very much of course including this one. That success, the first inklings of that change were starting to be visible by the late 1970s. The OECD first introduced the concept of newly industrializing economies around 1978 but at that time they meant small East Asian economies. They meant South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore. And many skeptics, I'm sorry to say including myself, said well alright that model might work for a small country with a few million people but it couldn't possibly succeed, if we tried to expand it to China or India.

[Around 04:40]
But of course, everything has changed now. When I talk about how development economics was a depressing subject, was about failure to develop, the case in point, perhaps the most visible case was in fact India. For about thirty five years after independence, India was extraordinarily disappointing - not a disaster, it grew slightly richer. Per capita income grew around one percent a year over that period so India was a little bit richer by the 1980s than it had been at the time of Independence but not a lot and the gap between India and the world's wealthiest nations grew wider not narrower. At the beginning of that period India's per capita GDP was about six percent that of the United States by the end it was down to around four and a half percent. So in fact from the point of view of the world stage India was falling behind, not making progress.

[Around 05:50]
And then everything changed. Somewhere in the 1980s the whole world, the whole pattern of world growth, of world development changed. And it changed in two ways which have to be related. One of them was that globalization took a - if I can borrow a phrase from another emerging nation - a great leap forward. Something unprecedented began to happen to the world trading system. If we look at - now it's true that trade had been growing rapidly faster than income ever since ever since world war two, that we had a long period of growing trade. But until around 1985 or so all of that growth and trade simply reflected a return to old patterns. As late as about 1985 world trade relative to world GDP was only about as high as it had been in 1913 - that is we were only restoring to roughly back to where we had been before World War one.

[Around 07:10]
And in between, of course, we had two wars, a Great Depression, widespread protectionism and then gradual liberalization of trade after that. But all of that had been only enough to more or less restore the amount of globalization of trade that we'd had before. And in fact in other respects international investment was actually lower than it had been before World War one. International movement of people was lower than it had been before World War one. So as of 1980 it was easy to say, look we're not a very global economy. We're more than we were in 1950 but really nothing that our grandfathers' wouldn't have seen being perfectly normal.

Since then something changed. Since then, we've seen a takeoff of international trade and other forms of globalization to levels that really are unprecedented. In particular after 1990 you just see this inflection point as which in which world trade begins to grow much more rapidly than had in the past two levels. About twice what we what what anything that we had seen before.

---- To be Completed ----

[I thank News18 and Paul Krugman, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above transcripts from their above mentioned videos on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

No comments:

Post a Comment