Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, in his recent column, has declared that the crisis in the global economy is now a depression. Since the onset of the global economic crisis, policymakers and media pundits have resisted using the "D" word, instead preferring terms such as the "Great Recession." However, this is what Paul Krugman wrote in his December 11, 2011 New York Times column:
"It's time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression. True, it's not a full replay of the Great Depression, but that's cold comfort. Unemployment in both America and Europe remains disastrously high. Leaders and institutions are increasingly discredited. And democratic values are under siege... Specifically, demands for ever-harsher austerity, with no offsetting effort to foster growth, have done double damage. They have failed as economic policy, worsening unemployment without restoring confidence; a Europe-wide recession now looks likely even if the immediate threat of financial crisis is contained."
Krugman points out in his piece that the economic disaster now unfolding in Europe threatens a resurgence of anti-democratic, populist authoritarianism of the type that infected European civilization during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Of course, the same dangers also lurk in the United States.
In my book, "Global Economic Forecast 2010-2015: Recession Into Depression," I predicted in 2009 that the policy responses following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 would not only fail to resolve the global financial and economic crisis; they would create a sovereign debt contagion that would transform the recession into a depression. Paul Krugman has confirmed the validity of my forecast made in 2009.
In his closing observation, Paul Krugman offers an ominous warning. After describing how Hungary, one of the new democracies in Eastern Europe, is receding into authoritarian rule as its politics become more extremist, all due to the economic crisis in Europe, Krugman writes about the Eurozone political leaders, "They also need to rethink their failing economic policies. If they don't, there will be more backsliding on democracy -- and the breakup of the euro may be the least of their worries."
It appears that the global economic crisis and Eurozone debt crisis are increasingly becoming a political crisis.