Paul Krugman is a brilliant economist as well as a fine writer. Often I disagree with him, and often I learn something unexpected. Years after I first read his book The Age of Diminished Expectations I still remember Krugman's comment about the difference between what's important (and hard to do anything about, and therefore tends to be ignored) versus what's ephemeral (and yet gets most of one's day-to-day attention):

The well-being of the economy is a lot like the well-being of an individual. My happiness depends almost entirely on a few important things, like work, love and health, and everything else is not really worth worrying about --- except that I usually can't or won't do anything to change the basic structure of my life, and so I worry about small things, like the state of my basement. For the economy, the important things --- the things that affect the standard of living of large numbers of people --- are productivity, income distribution and unemployment. If these things are satisfactory, not much else can go wrong, while if they are not, nothing can go right. Yet very little of the business of economic policy is concerned with these big trends.

Likewise for the business of life ....

TopicEconomics - TopicPhilosophy - TopicLife - 2002-06-15

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