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Reuters

FIRST, DO NO HARM

By Paul Krugman

When a fire breaks out in a single-family home, firefighters know what they have to do. Fires in private houses are all pretty much alike. But when a fire breaks out in a warehouse, the firefighters make an effort to find out what is inside before they go to work, lest they do more harm than good. For example, if the warehouse is filled with highly flammable chemicals, dousing the building with water may spread the fire. In the end, the fire department must act regardless, but it is important to act on as much information as one can get about the nature of the problem.

I offer this homily because Ethan B. Kapstein uses an analogy with firefighting to claim that the West, faced with the economic difficulties of inequality and unemployment, has been paralyzed by too much debate over causes ("Workers

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