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Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph E. Stiglitz

The official account of Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist based at Columbia University.

Articles by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Green Dealing – The Green Recovery Event

9 days ago

For more than 25 years, Project Syndicate has been guided by a simple credo: All people deserve access to a broad range of views by the world’s foremost leaders and thinkers on the issues, events, and forces shaping their lives. At a time of unprecedented uncertainty, that mission is more important than ever – and we remain committed to fulfilling it.
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As a subscriber, you will enjoy unlimited access to our On Point suite of long reads and book reviews, Say More contributor interviews, The Year Ahead magazine, the full PS archive, and much more. You will also directly support our mission of delivering the

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The Republican Threat to the Republic

22 days ago

As US President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans’ behavior over the past four years has made abundantly clear, American democracy itself is on the line in this year’s election. Without an overwhelming victory for Democrats at all levels, Republican minority rule will be locked in indefinitely.

NEW YORK – Whereas Nero famously fiddled while Rome burned, US President Donald Trump has famously hit the links at his money-losing golf courses while California burns – and as more than 200,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 – for which he himself has now tested positive. Like Nero, Trump will undoubtedly be remembered as an exceptionally cruel, inhumane, and possibly mad political figure.

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Reclaiming American Greatness

September 14, 2020

After nearly four years of US President Donald Trump and the Republicans undermining the state and looting the public purse, it is no wonder that the country was so unprepared for the COVID-19 crisis. America’s best hope now lies with Joe Biden, whose greatest strength is his potential to reunify a divided populace.

NEW YORK – Julia Jackson, the mother of Jacob Blake, a young black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was shot seven times in the back by police, got it right when she said, “America is great when we behave greatly.” Sadly, for the past four years, President Donald Trump has been leading America in the exact opposite direction.
The country’s entire history seems to be on the line when Trump faces the voters

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How to Prevent the Looming Sovereign-Debt Crisis

July 31, 2020

From Latin America’s lost decade in the 1980s to the more recent Greek crisis, there are plenty of painful reminders of what happens when countries cannot service their debts. A global debt crisis today would likely push millions of people into unemployment and fuel instability and violence around the world.

NEW YORK – While the COVID-19 pandemic rages, more than 100 low- and middle-income countries will still have to pay a combined $130 billion in debt service this year – around half of which is owed to private creditors. With much economic activity suspended and fiscal revenues in free fall, many countries will be forced to default. Others will cobble together scarce resources to pay creditors, cutting back on

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Sovereign Creditors Must Not Rewrite the Rules During the Pandemic

July 9, 2020

NEW YORK – In the wake of COVID-19, there is an urgent need for sovereign debt restructuring, including debt relief. In the circumstances caused by the pandemic, many countries’ repayment obligations could have devastating social consequences if they are not adjusted. Financial markets face risks of sovereign default.

Understanding the Pandemic Stock Market

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Priorities for the COVID-19 Economy

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The Main Street Manifesto

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Priorities for the COVID-19 Economy

July 1, 2020

With hopes of a sharp rebound from the pandemic-induced recession quickly fading, policymakers should pause and take stock of what it will take to achieve a sustained recovery. The most urgent policy priorities have been obvious since the beginning, but they will require hard choices and a show of political will.

NEW YORK – Although it seems like ancient history, it hasn’t been that long since economies around the world began to close down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in the crisis, most people anticipated a quick V-shaped recovery, on the assumption that the economy merely needed a short timeout. After two months of tender loving care and heaps of money, it would pick up where it left off.

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Which Economic Stimulus Works?

June 8, 2020

During the initial shock from COVID-19, it was understandable that governments and central banks would respond with massive injections of liquidity. But now policymakers need to take a step back and consider which forms of stimulus are really needed, and which risk doing more harm than good.

NEW YORK – Governments around the world are responding forcefully to the COVID-19 crisis with a combined fiscal and monetary response that has already reached 10% of global GDP. Yet according to the latest global assessment from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, these stimulus measures may not boost consumption and investment by as much as policymakers are hoping.

Rage

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Restructuring Argentina’s Private Debt is Essential

May 6, 2020

NEW YORK – The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed humanity toward the worst global recession in modern times. Pressure on public finances has become enormous, particularly in developing countries that were already highly indebted.

How Will the Great Cessation End?

PS OnPoint

Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

How to Develop a COVID-19 Vaccine for All

Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei via Getty Images

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The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations have

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Patents vs. the Pandemic

April 23, 2020

As researchers around the world rush to develop new diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19, we must not forget that such cooperation is an exception to the rule. In the absence of public intervention, we will remain reliant for life-saving drugs and vaccines on a monopoly-driven system that favors profits over people.

NEW YORK – Imagine a world in which a global network of medical professionals monitored for emerging strains of a contagious virus, periodically updated an established formula for vaccinating against it, and then made that information available to companies and countries around the world. Moreover, imagine if this work were done without any intellectual-property (IP) considerations, and without

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Plagued by Trumpism

March 9, 2020

For 40 years, Republicans have been insisting that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” But now that COVID-19, climate change, and other collective threats are bearing down on the US and the rest of the world, the bankruptcy of this nostrum has been laid bare.

NEW YORK – As an educator, I’m always looking for “teachable moments” – current events that illustrate and reinforce the principles on which I’ve been lecturing. And there is nothing like a pandemic to focus attention on what really matters.
Plagued by Trumpism

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COVID-19 Trumps Nationalism

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Solidarity Now

February 28, 2020

After decades of shaping global and national economic policies according to the dictates of neoliberal ideology, public sectors are starved, climate change is accelerating, inequality is on the rise, and democracies are confronting near-unprecedented crises. The only way forward is to leave behind the defunct economic nostrums of the past.

ROME – The world is facing a multitude of challenges, from climate change and inequality to the crisis of confidence in our political and economic institutions. The capitalist system itself is undergoing yet another existential crisis, and many countries are facing various trials of their own. The United States is in the grips of an opioid crisis, a childhood diabetes crisis, and a political

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Has Davos Man Changed?

January 30, 2020

The discussion at Davos this year may be part of a move in the right direction toward a more sustainable capitalism. But we need to see some proof: corporations paying taxes and livable wages, for a start, and respecting – and even advocating – government regulations to protect our health, safety, workers, and the environment.

DAVOS – This year marked the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum’s flagship meeting of the world’s business and political elites in Davos, Switzerland. Much has changed since my first Davos in 1995. Back then, there was euphoria over globalization, hope for ex-communist countries’ transition to the market, and confidence that new technologies would open up new vistas from which all would benefit.

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The Truth About the Trump Economy

January 17, 2020

It is becoming conventional wisdom that US President Donald Trump will be tough to beat in November, because, whatever reservations about him voters may have, he has been good for the American economy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

NEW YORK – As the world’s business elites trek to Davos for their annual gathering, people should be asking a simple question: Have they overcome their infatuation with US President Donald Trump?
The Truth About the Trump Economy

Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Work in the Twenty-First Century

PS OnPoint

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Argentina’s Bright Young Hope

December 23, 2019

Martin Guzmán is among the world’s leading experts on sovereign debt and the problems it can cause. With his appointment as Argentina’s Minister of Economy by President Alberto Fernández, Guzmán has become the right person in the right place at the right time.

NEW YORK – Judging by his appointment of a first-rate economist to his cabinet as Minister of Economy, Argentina’s new president, Alberto Fernández, is off to a good start in confronting his country’s economic problems. Martin Guzmán, with whom I have frequently collaborated in recent years, is among the world’s leading experts on sovereign debt and the problems it can cause, making him the right person in the right place at the right time.
Trump Will

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Is Growth Passé?

December 9, 2019

Some suggest that the Paris climate agreement’s target for limiting global warming can be achieved only by stopping economic expansion. But there is ample room to change the quality of growth and significantly reduce its environmental impact without condemning billions of people to lives of deprivation.

NEW YORK – It’s clear: we are living beyond our planet’s limits. Unless we change something, the consequences will be dire. Should that something be our focus on economic growth?
Is Growth Passé?

Kanok Sulaiman/Getty Images

Democratic Leadership in a Populist Age

PS OnPoint

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The End of Neoliberalism and the Rebirth of History

November 4, 2019

For 40 years, elites in rich and poor countries alike promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. Now that the evidence is in, is it any wonder that trust in elites and confidence in democracy have plummeted?

NEW YORK – At the end of the Cold War, political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a celebrated essay called “The End of History?” Communism’s collapse, he argued, would clear the last obstacle separating the entire world from its destiny of liberal democracy and market economies. Many people agreed.
The End of Neoliberalism and the Rebirth of History

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Wanted: A Global Green New Deal

October 8, 2019

To live within our planetary means, we will have to change many aspects of how we live – how we organize our economies, our cities, and our transportation, energy, housing, and food systems. The good news is that most of the world now recognizes this; the bad news is that its largest polluter does not.

NEW YORK – Nearly a quarter-century ago, I was a lead author on “Climate Change 1995 – A Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” In that report, we made one big mistake: we should have sounded the alarm louder. But we lacked the overwhelming evidence that we have today concerning the pace and consequences of climate change, so we didn’t fully anticipate the extreme weather events that have had such

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No More Half-Measures on Corporate Taxes

October 7, 2019

In the face of climate change, rising inequality, and other global crises, governments are losing out on hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue as a result of corporate tax arbitrage. Yet despite the obvious deficiencies of the global tax regime, policymakers continue to propose only piecemeal fixes.

NEW YORK – Globalization has gotten a bad rap in recent years, and often for good reason. But some critics, not least US President Donald Trump, place the blame in the wrong place, conjuring up a false image in which Europe, China, and developing countries have snookered America’s trade negotiators into bad deals, leading to Americans’ current woes. It’s an absurd claim: after all, it was America – or, rather,

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Is Stakeholder Capitalism Really Back?

August 27, 2019

We will have to wait and see whether the US Business Roundtable’s recent statement renouncing corporate governance based on shareholder primacy is merely a publicity stunt. If America’s most powerful CEOs really mean what they say, they will support sweeping legislative reforms.

NEW YORK – For four decades, the prevailing doctrine in the United States has been that corporations should maximize shareholder value – meaning profits and share prices – here and now, come what may, regardless of the consequences to workers, customers, suppliers, and communities. So the statement endorsing stakeholder capitalism, signed earlier this month by virtually all the members of the US Business Roundtable, has caused

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Trump’s Deficit Economy

August 9, 2019

Economists have repeatedly tried to explain to Donald Trump that trade agreements may affect which countries the US buys from and sells to, but not the magnitude of the overall deficit. But, as usual, Trump believes what he wants to believes, leaving those who can least afford it to pay the price.

NEW YORK – In the new world wrought by US President Donald Trump, where one shock follows another, there is never time to think through fully the implications of the events with which we are bombarded. In late July, the Federal Reserve Board reversed its policy of returning interest rates to more normal levels, after a decade of ultra-low rates in the wake of the Great Recession. Then, the United States had

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Thumbs Down to Facebook’s Cryptocurrency

July 2, 2019

Only a fool would trust Facebook with his or her financial wellbeing. But maybe that’s the point: with so much personal data on some 2.4 billion monthly active users, who knows better than Facebook just how many suckers are born every minute?

NEW YORK – Facebook and some of its corporate allies have decided that what the world really needs is another cryptocurrency, and that launching one is the best way to use the vast talents at their disposal. The fact that Facebook thinks so reveals much about what is wrong with twenty-first-century American capitalism. 
The Roots of Our Discontent

PS OnPoint

Anthony Sotomayor/Getty Images

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After Neoliberalism

May 30, 2019

For the past 40 years, the United States and other advanced economies have been pursuing a free-market agenda of low taxes, deregulation, and cuts to social programs. There can no longer be any doubt that this approach has failed spectacularly; the only question is what will – and should – come next.

NEW YORK – What kind of economic system is most conducive to human wellbeing? That question has come to define the current era, because, after 40 years of neoliberalism in the United States and other advanced economies, we know what doesn’t work.
After Neoliberalism

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Game of EU Thrones

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The Economy We Need

May 3, 2019

After 40 years of market fundamentalism, America and like-minded European countries are failing the vast majority of their citizens. At this point, only a new social contract – guaranteeing citizens health care, education, retirement security, affordable housing, and decent work for decent pay – can save capitalism and liberal democracy.

NEW YORK – Three years ago, US President Donald Trump’s election and the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum confirmed what those of us who have long studied income statistics already knew: in most advanced countries, the market economy has been failing large swaths of society.Nowhere is this truer than in the United States. Long regarded as a poster child for the promise of

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Trump’s Most Worrisome Legacy

April 9, 2019

The US president’s attacks on America’s truth-seeking institutions jeopardize its continued prosperity and very ability to function as a democracy. As corporate giants capture the institutions that are supposed to protect ordinary citizens, a dystopia once imagined only by science fiction writers is emerging before our eyes.

NEW YORK – Kirstjen Nielsen’s forced resignation as US Secretary of Homeland Security is no reason to celebrate. Yes, she presided over the forced separation of families at the US border, notoriously housing young children in wire cages. But Nielsen’s departure is not likely to bring any improvement, as President Donald Trump wants to replace her with someone who will carry out his anti-immigrant

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Market Concentration Is Threatening the US Economy

March 11, 2019

Rising inequality and slow growth are widely recognized as key factors behind the spread of public discontent in advanced economies, particularly in the United States. But these problems are themselves symptoms of an underlying malady that the US political system may be unable to address.

NEW YORK – The world’s advanced economies are suffering from a number of deep-seated problems. In the United States, in particular, inequality is at its highest since 1928, and GDP growth remains woefully tepid compared to the decades after World War II.

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

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How Can We Tax Footloose Multinationals?

February 13, 2019

Apple, Google, Starbucks, and companies like them all claim to be socially responsible, but the first element of social responsibility should be paying your fair share of tax. Instead, globalization has enabled multinationals to encourage a race to the bottom, threatening the revenues that governments need to function properly.

NEW YORK – In the last few years, globalization has come under renewed attack. Some of the criticisms may be misplaced, but one is spot on: globalization has enabled large multinationals, like Apple, Google, and Starbucks, to avoid paying tax.

Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images

Photographer is my life/Getty Images

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From Yellow Vests to the Green New Deal

January 7, 2019

The grassroots movement behind the Green New Deal offers a ray of hope to the badly battered establishment: they should embrace it, flesh it out, and make it part of the progressive agenda. We need something positive to save us from the ugly wave of populism, nativism, and proto-fascism that is sweeping the world.

NEW YORK – It’s old news that large segments of society have become deeply unhappy with what they see as “the establishment,” especially the political class. The “Yellow Vest” protests in France, triggered by President Emmanuel Macron’s move to hike fuel taxes in the name of combating climate change, are but the latest example of the scale of this alienation.

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

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A Very Trumpian Year

January 3, 2019

Economic and political outcomes are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. And in 2019, the consequences of the bad policies and worse politics of the last two years will come more fully into view – and not only in the United States.

NEW YORK – At the end of 2017, US President Donald Trump’s administration and congressional Republicans rammed through a $1 trillion cut in corporate taxes, partly offset by tax increases for the majority of Americans in the middle of the income distribution. But in 2018, the US business community’s jubilation over this handout started giving way to anxiety over Trump and his policies.A year ago, US business and financial leaders’ unbridled greed allowed them to look past their aversion to large

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Beyond GDP

December 3, 2018

What we measure affects what we do. If we focus only on material wellbeing – on, say, the production of goods, rather than on health, education, and the environment – we become distorted in the same way that these measures are distorted; we become more materialistic.

INCHEON – Just under ten years ago, the International Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress issued its report, Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn’t Add Up.The title summed it up: GDP is not a good measure of wellbeing. What we measure affects what we do, and if we measure the wrong thing, we will do the wrong thing. If we focus only on material wellbeing – on, say, the production of goods, rather than on health, education, and

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Can American Democracy Come Back?

November 6, 2018

America’s ideals of freedom, democracy, and justice for all may never have been fully realized, but now they are under open attack. Democracy has become rule of, by, and for the few; and justice for all is available to all who are white and can afford it.

NEW YORK – The United States has long held itself up as a bastion of democracy. It has promoted democracy around the world. It fought, at great cost, for democracy against fascism in Europe during World War II. Now the fight has come home.

Nicholas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

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America’s credentials as a democracy were always slightly blemished. The US was founded as a representative democracy, but only a small

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