SYNOPSIS: Short bio

Paul Krugman has been examining and debunking the popular economic theories of the era he's called "the age of diminished expectations" for over half his life. The 43-year-old MIT and former Stanford professor's criticisms of trade protectionism-as well as his bipartisan and sometimes personal criticisms of prominent Washington policy wonks-has made him anathema to some. But Krugman's work, which includes 16 books and more than 100 articles, earned him the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal in 1991 and recently led Newsweek to describe him as "Nobel-bound."

Much to the horror of conservatives everywhere, Krugman's unusual-for-an-economist ability to convey his ideas in layman's terms has earned his books, like his 1994 national bestseller, Peddling Prosperity, their place on college syllabi everywhere. What's next? Krugman says he's working on a textbook about basic economic principles. "It's something I'm doing because I thought the basics were not getting through," Krugman says. "But I also needed the money."