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Dueling Economists at PEN World Voices Festival

krugman1.jpgThe New York Review of Books brought together the country’s top economic minds for the PEN World Voices Festival last night. Entitled “The Economic Crisis and How to Deal with It,” the distinguished panel included George Soros, Robin Wells and Senator Bill Bradley.

The enthusiastic audience cheered the heated arguments about how to deal with the economic crisis, but the panelists only had 15 minutes at the end to discuss the future. Panelist Niall Ferguson, author of “Paper and Iron” and “The House of Rothschild,” took a contrary position most of the night. “People refused to believe what was happening [to the economy],” he said. “That’s why I called it “the Great Repression.”

Panelist Paul Krugman, this year’s Nobel Prize-winner, said the federal government needs to return to “forgotten Depression economics,” knocking “the 38 Republican senators who think that the answer is more Bush-style tax cuts.”

“I hate to teach arithmetic to a Nobel laureate,” Ferguson sniped, criticizing Krugman for encouraging measures that will dramatically raise the national debt. “At some point, the US begins to look more like a Latin American economy,” Ferguson concluded.

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