Krugman responds to Great Recession/Great Depression comparison

On his New York Times blog, Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman has reponded to a VoxEU post showing that the current Great Recession might be accelerating deeper and faster than the Great Depression. Krugman writes: 

What hasn’t happened — at least not yet — is any counterpart to the catastrophes of 1931: the wave of bank runs in the US, the failure of Credit Anstalt in Austria, and the great perverse response of central banks that was triggered by the death spasms of the gold standard.

What Eichengreen-O’Rourke show, it seems to me, is that knowledge is the only thing standing between us and Great Depression 2.0. It’s only to the extent that we understand these things a bit better than our grandfathers — and that we act on that knowledge — that we have any real reason to think this time will be better.

Eichengreen and O'Rourke convincingly argue that two indicators, trade volume and stock values (they don't take on other indicators, like global GDP or unemployment), are plummeting. But they also show the alacrity and force of governmental responses -- the only option for staunching the bleeding and returning the world economy to health.


China publishing Tibet propaganda in Malawi

Passport reader John Duffell sends in the above newspaper supplement from Malawi. He writes:

I'm an American who's been living in southern Malawi for nearly a year and a  half. Yesterday morning, during a trip to town, I picked up a copy of  Malawi's "Daily Times" newspaper to find a 12-page advertisement celebrating  "50 years of democratic reform in Tibet" It's mostly about how grateful the  people of Tibet are that China has reclaimed what's rightfully hers, and  given them freedom at long last. [...] The ad spread looks remarkably like editorial content, and I've since learned that it was paid for by the Chinese Embassy in Malawi. 

There's more info on Duffell's blog including a bizarre conversation with the newspaper's editor.

It's not news that China is waging a public relations campaign along with its economic expansion in Africa, but it's a bit hard to understand why Malawians would care that much about Tibet, or why China would care that much what they think.

Have any other readers in Africa seen anything similar?

Photo: John Duffell/Flickr