Robert Allen: The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective
Japan in Recession

Every Time You Think the Republicans Could Not Get Any Worse...

Paul Krugman watches the catastrophe-in-progress:

Severe Conservative Syndrome - Mitt Romney has a gift for words… telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.” As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.” Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb “severely”; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured….

[Y]ou have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism.

Start with Rick Santorum… the clear current favorite among usual Republican primary voters…. Mr. Santorum made a point of defending the medieval Crusades against the “American left who hates Christendom.” Historical issues aside (hey, what are a few massacres of infidels and Jews among friends?), what was this doing in a 21st-century campaign? Nor is this only about sex and religion: he has also declared that climate change is a hoax, part of a “beautifully concocted scheme” on the part of “the left” to provide “an excuse for more government control of your life.” You may say that such conspiracy-theorizing is hardly unique to Mr. Santorum, but that’s the point: tinfoil hats have become a common, if not mandatory, G.O.P. fashion accessory…