Paul Krugman on Post-Consumer Society

Question: Will this crisis shift us to a post-consumer society?

Paul Krugman: Parts of it.

We have been a society for the past 25 years where finance was king. We’re a people who put together complex financial deals. We’re the people who made the high salaries.

If you looked at the highest incomes in the country, they have tended to be a Wall Street to Wall Street related stuff, and in which the business of actually making stuff, not necessarily physical stuff, but the business of actually providing stuff that was of direct use was definitely secondary. I think that era is probably over.

So, if that’s going to change, fewer Gordon Gekkos out there in the 21st Century economy. Finances, I hope, finance is going to become boring again. When I was growing up, bankers were boring people, and the whole business of finance was a pretty boring field and that’s probably where we’re going again. 

We’ll see how much of a new, new deal we get from other respects, but basically the whole shape of the economy is not going to change.

Paul Krugman weighs the impact of the financial crisis on shopping mall culture.

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