December 8, 2008 / 6:20 PM / 9 years ago

Nobel winner Krugman's worst case: a lost decade

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Paul Krugman, winner of this year’s Nobel economics prize, said on Monday that the world could face a Japan-style, decade-long slump.

Speaking in Stockholm where he will collect his 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.3 million) prize, U.S. economist Krugman again called on policy makers to spend liberally to cushion a withering global downturn.

“A scenario I fear is that we’ll see, for the whole world, an equivalent of Japan’s lost decade, the 1990s -- that we’ll see a world of zero interest rates, deflation, no sign of recovery, and it will just go on for a very extended period,” he told a news conference.

“And that’s unfortunately very easy to see happen.”

Krugman added that in his worst case scenario there would also be a series of extremely serious crises “in particular countries that are in big trouble.”

Paul Krugman of the U.S., winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics for 2008, prepares to give his Nobel lecture at Stockholm University in Stockholm December 8, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong

He said there were already premonitions of economic and political crises in line with those in Argentina and Indonesia in the 1990s-early 2000s, particularly “in the European periphery.”

Iceland and Latvia are among European countries that have been hit hard by the global financial crisis.

“We can easily be talking about a world economy that is depressed until 2011 and maybe beyond,” Krugman said.

“If there’s a safe place I can’t see it.”

Krugman is in the Swedish capital for the “Nobel Week,” when laureates attend news conferences and events culminating with the prize ceremony and a gala dinner on Wednesday.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Victoria Main

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