Las Vegas Sun

March 2, 2015

Currently: 61° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Economic path has apocalyptic ending

Even though Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in economics, his column in Sept. 29’s Sun shows that he has no understanding of economics. His column advocates continuous economic growth, which is impossible. The same mistake is made by almost every economist on the planet.

The resources provided by the planet will not permit continuous economic growth. Humanity must adapt to that fact. Both presidential candidates are misleading the American public when they argue that their economic policies will increase the number of jobs available to the citizens of the USA.

That cannot and will not happen — there cannot be an ever-increasing number of jobs for an ever-increasing population, and our failure to understand that fact will lead to the collapse of the social order and the deaths of billions.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 25 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Try reading Krugman's book "End this Depression Now" and maybe you'd be a little more optimistic. The Suffering we're now experiencing is truly optional.

  2. Should we get that repenting thingy started soon?

  3. I think Jason has been watching or reading any number of financial doomsday videos or writings that end with some kind of subscription offer.

    It is becoming as prolific as the Nigerian e-mail pleas for money.

    I read one over a year ago that was saying the great collapse was coming in the last quarter of 2011. I guess they decided to change the line to "soon", when it didn't happen.

    What is it this time, gold or silver sales? Buying property in some safe haven to escape to? Investing in recommended stocks to make loads of money before it is to late? It must be a prosperous endeavor because more people are joining in on the same thing, and same way.

    Perhaps it will happen someday, but when, who knows? If it does, I guess that's the end for me, and a whole lot of people along with me! The end comes to everyone sooner or later.

    I won't let fear run my life for the time I have left.

  4. Have you stocked up on survival supplies yet?

  5. LOL. This all goes along the prediction that is supposed to come 12-21-2012.

    Greed is what's driving this country to the ditch. So the country goes bankrupt. I wonder who the billionaires are going to make money out of when the 99% have nothing to spend. No one can afford to buy cars and those who have cars cannot afford gas; no one can afford to buy anything so production stops, and everything else rots. Meanwhile the rich will have their money and what will they do with it? I hope it will keep them happy.

    The rich has more at stake in the economy than the rest of us. I hope they realize this and stop squeezing capital to make this President look bad. He had to undo eight years of the shrub and while doing it had to fend off pests blocking his every move!

    If you believe this cow dung, then by all means, do something about it to ease your pain, but stop the scare tactics.

  6. "Have you stocked up on survival supplies yet?"

    Funny you should ask. It is part of the LDS/Mormon beliefs and practice. A two year supply in every household. And get this now, if and when needed, they [Mormons] are compelled by the same beliefs to share this reserve with all, Mormon and non-Mormon alike. Think Hurricane Katrina. Every single solitary Mormon was accounted for by the Church leaders within hours and days of the disaster and they were providing food and shelter to those in need. Ever read about this in the mainstream media?


  7. I have a feeling that Paul Krugman knows a little more about economics than you and I do. Many times what changes the course of history is an unforseeable event. Mother Nature has a hand in bringing about change and it is most likely the kind of change that will make us all believers.

  8. Never let the facts get in they way of a good story. Total employment under G.W. Bush went from 132.5 million when he took office in January 2001 to 133.5 million when he left office in January 2009. This gain of only one million jobs over 8 years was immediately wipe out during the following two months - February and March of 2009.

  9. While I agree Krugman is full of S**T, I disagree with the premise that growth will be impossible to maintain for an "ever-increasing-population." That's exactly the reason growth will continue. More people; more need for the necessities of life: food, shelter, clothing, and for those things that make life more comfortable - TVs, IPads, A.C., automobiles, electricity, and on and on. One side, Dumbocrats & many Republicrats, want to make future generations even more dependent on government largess then today; the other side, Conservatives, feels the majority of folks are perfectly capable of handling their own affairs and fullfilling their dreams. Which side you are on depends on your own self-worth, dignity, intelligence and willingness to work for the things you want.

  10. Boy, and I thought I was the pessimistic one. This poor guy is REALLY depressing.

  11. The letter writer needs to spend a little bit more time studying statistical data and less time scaring the hell out of people. Many countries including the United States are experiencing the lowest birth rates in recorded history. The Japanese people are slowly going extinct because they prefer to play with gadgets than procreate.

    In the United States the labor force is shrinking due in no small part to the aging population. There are 10,000 people a day retiring. Nearly 4,000,000 a year. The reason the United States has experienced very high economic growth rates is that our population has roughly doubled since World War II. A fairly high birth rate coupled with liberal immigration policies have provided many more workers for our economic engine. This is no longer occurring. It's people that create jobs. The more people the more jobs. Many countries in Europe including Germany have the same populations that they did in the World War II era. Compare the growth rates of countries with stagnant population growth to the United States. It's much less! .If we still had the same workforce that we did during World War II we wouldn't be producing 16 trillion in output. It would be a fraction of that

  12. @ peacelily...

    "I think Jason has been watching or reading any number of financial doomsday videos or writings that end with some kind of subscription offer."

    Profligate & insidious they are! And shamefully designed to reel in the likes of the letter-writer, to fear-monger money right out of their witless wallets...
    There oughta be a law!

  13. Norman Borlag and revolutionary work in genetics and crop science put the stake in the Malthusians. It is just as likely that scientific inquiry and corresponding progress will not only continue to improve our standard of living but add capacity so that more folks globally have access. From the health perspective eradication of smallpox and reduction of incidences of malaria and cholera; from an ag perspective hybrid rice, wheat, corn/maize yields; from an energy perspective increased utilization of renewables; from an industrial/manufacturing perspective increased efficiency of both processes and products: all contribute to the ability of more people to enjoy better health, better nutrition, better education and better lives. Un fortunately the letter writer is one of those cassandras who not only see a glass half-full but also rapidly emptying.

  14. I'm often censured by the Las Vegas Sun but I'm extremely greatful to it for getting me to read Paul Krugman.

  15. Ref... There are a million charts and graphs. You can find one to support any position you want to take. There were 226 million people in the country in 1980. The population has grown about 80 million since then. About 60% of the people work in developed economies. You would expect employment to have grown by about 48 million since then. It has.

    Private investment waxes and wanes depending on economic conditions and anticipated returns. The period leading up to this recession was one of the longest periods of economic growth in the nation's history. Typically protracted growth periods lead to economic excesses. The recessions that follow long periods of economic growth tend to be very severe and correct the excesses. What were coming out of is the only great recession in the nation's history. States have been crushed. Retirement accounts have been crushed both public and private and it takes time to recover from all of this.

    If you want economic growth and employment growth the only way to get it is to have population growth. As long as people want to come to the United States and participate in our economic miracle we will be fine. When they stop coming here the problems we are facing will compound.

  16. Our problems our fiscal and demographic in nature. They are due to having an aging society and ridiculously high medical costs that are propped up by special interest groups in Washington. Bringing our medical costs down to the next the most expensive nation would save the nation $80 trillion in the next 40 years if we spend $200 trillion. Were going to spend 3 trillion next year alone with the government's share approaching half. How many people can we employ, and how many businesses can be started with an $80 trillion savings. My wife and I know people that have lived in the United States for decades that are going back to places like England and Germany. They're getting old and the thought of having their life savings wiped out with a simple illness doesn't appeal to them.
    My final point is that we should be allowing millions and millions of people under 35 years old into this country. Social Security and Medicare would get additional monies that they need and those folks would start millions of new businesses. I recently read that half of the high-tech startup companies are being started by immigrants. The newspaper recently published a list of doctors in Las Vegas. Most have names you can't even pronounce. Strong immigration and clinic-based medicine would help solve many of the nation's current ills


    Start from that basic premise and work forward with the logic. And, Gerry, Bringing in millions of younger workers begs the question of how to find work for them when we can't even employ the people already here.

  18. People find work for themselves. WE don't have to do anything. The premise that we have to find work for people is fallacious. Who exactly is ....WE.....

  19. "WE" as in society in general and can be any job creator you wish to describe as such for this purpose.

    There is already a very large segment of society that for one reason or another can not find work. It doesn't follow that bringing in millions more would make that situation any better.

    I understand your premise that more, younger workers are needed to provide for the aging population. I might even agree to some extent, in principle. But the job market simply isn't there for them at this point in time. There is too much supply for the (lack of) demand that exists.

  20. This statement is true by inspection: "The resources provided by the planet will not permit continuous economic growth". It is absolutely true because the Earth is not able to provide resources (food) for continuous population growth.

    Thomas Malthus famously said: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man". The oceans have been fished to the point of devastation and large sections of coral reefs have died. Peak oil has been reached in many countries. Peak world output for fertilizer is not far away.

    The economy will have to shift to producing jobs without capital expansion and there is no natural law that prohibits a steady state economic system from providing sufficient employment. The 'growth' factor of today is created by sending the wages of underpaid employees to the front office. Once the greed is controlled, steady state economics will flourish and produce a wonderful existence. America should be a place to live, not sweat and die.

  21. SunJon,

    I can see where a steady-state might be achieved in a closed system. But we do not have that economically thanks to something called national boundaries.

    Even the Earth itself cannot be considered a closed system because we are continuously receiving energy from the Sun. Granted there is a (very) delicate balance in place between how much of the energy is used and eventually radiated out, and how much is stored, but the constant input is there. On a side note, it is the release of stored energy that is changing the aforementioned balance.

  22. Boftx...Rea your 107 post. That is exactly what people said 100 years ago. See how many were working then and compare to the current period.
    The Chinese have a larger labor force than the US and Europe combined, plus one of the lowest unemployment rates. Why????? A 1.5 billion population. If they can employ 600 million we can employ many more. In the next few decades we will have 440 million people and there WILL be another 120 million jobs to go along with it. You can take that to the bank.

  23. China can employ their people because the world, and the US in particular, is buying their products.

  24. This is an interesting article on what Keynes had to say about trade deficits:

  25. Government policies based on Keynesian theories and the institution of central banking form a nexus of central economic planning. Control of the central planning process is a winner-take-all proposition for businesses. In the U.S., the result is an unholy alliance of the U.S. federal government, the Federal Reserve (along with the largest U.S. banks) and the largest U.S. corporations. The logical chain beginning with Keynes' fundamental idea that government, supported by a central bank, should play a large and active role in the economy sets the stage for a centrally planned economy and ultimately produces a corporate state.

    Isn't this what liberals are continually whining about?

    The U.S. economy is locked in a downward spiral of economic decline. By growing in size, and by engaging in ever larger economic interventions, the U.S. federal government became itself a material cause of the recession that began in 2007. By attempting to grow the economy through monetary expansion, i.e., consumer spending fueled by debt, the Federal Reserve destroyed savings and fueled a series of disastrous economic bubbles, culminating in the housing bubble. At the same time, the largest U.S. banks engaged in reckless lending and high-stakes gambling on hundreds of trillions in over the counter (OTC) derivatives. OTC derivatives, which amount to risky, largely un-backed wagers, were the root cause of the "too big to fail" doctrine that has virtually bankrupted Western governments since 2008. By seeking ever greater influence over Washington D.C. and by seeking to generate higher profits by cutting production in the U.S., the largest U.S. corporations undermined the U.S. market and economy. The U.S. federal government did virtually nothing to prevent the destructive developments because of the influence of the largest U.S. corporations.

    I doubt there are many who would disagree with this, but if you think that Republicans caused it and Democrats are the solution then you are a fool, and we are all doomed.

    Following Keynesian economic theories, the policy response of the U.S. federal government to the recession that began in 2007 and of the financial crisis that began in 2008 was to expand the government further and at a more rapid pace. In other words, some of the root causes of the economic imbalances that lead to the recession and financial crisis (the relative size of the government and the resulting economic distortions) were compounded. As a consequence, the so-called "double dip recession" in the U.S. that began in the second half of 2011 will be longer and ultimately more severe than the economic downturn of 2007-2009.