Friday, November 21, 2014

Unconventional Economic Wisdom

Joseph E. Stiglitz

Is “boom and bust” a permanent feature of the capitalist order? Do global markets need global regulation – and are today’s supranational institutions the right ones to provide it? Is the dream of a Third Way between today’s global capitalism and yesterday’s discredited socialism still alive?

Nowadays, the economic establishment seems to offer the same answer to every question: let markets decide. Policymakers and thinkers who suggest alternatives are shrugged off as leftist dinosaurs fighting yesterday’s battles. Small wonder that most economists do not dare to buck conventional wisdom. Not Joseph E. Stiglitz – a Nobel laureate in Economics and a leading nonconformist mind. Always on the lookout for the best, Project Syndicate enlisted Professor Stiglitz to provide an exclusive monthly commentary to its member papers.

Chairman of the US Council of Economic Advisersunder President Clinton throughout much of the longest boom in US history, former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, former professor at the world-renowned economics departments of Stanford, Yale, Princeton, and Oxford, and currently at Columbia University, Joseph E. Stiglitz is a pathbreaking theorist in the fields of the economics of information, taxation, development, and trade. His views on the dynamics of information and technical change revolutionized the field. He also saw first hand the flaws and defects in today’s economic orthodoxy, and while others were happy to let the good times roll on, his criticisms of the “Washington Consensus” from within rocked the World Bank.

As the world grapples with the idea that the business cycle has not been repealed, that markets go down as well as up, and that sustained development demands more than imported capital, Joseph E. Stiglitz's “dissents” are gaining greater urgency. Indeed, those in search of the heart and substance of the Third Way find them regularly in Joseph E. Stiglitz's ideas, as delivered in Project Syndicate’s monthly series of commentaries.

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