Joe Stiglitz, big-government guru

Looking at his résumé, you’d almost think he could part the Red Sea. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge; he’s taught at Yale, Stanford, Oxford, Princeton, and Columbia; he chaired President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors; he was chief economist at the World Bank; and he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

stiglitz1
Joseph Stiglitz

He’s served as an economic advisor to the UN and other international organizations as well as to heads of government around the world. In 2011, Time Magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

But exactly what kind of influence does Joseph Stiglitz wield? What kind of advice does he dispense?

The first thing that’s important to know is that he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian. Meaning what? Meaning, for one thing, that he’s a guy who blamed the 2008 world financial crisis on U.S. economic deregulation – never mind that, as Samuel Gregg wrote in 2010, Western Europe’s hyper-regulated economies were at that point “in even worse shape than America’s” and Greece, “one of the most regulated and interventionist economies in the entire EU,” was “on financial life support.”

stiglitz2
Stiglitz in Australia earlier this year

He’s a guy who argued that the solution to the 2008 world financial crisis – the way to create jobs and increase employment – was to increase direct government spending, even though, as Matthew Continetti warned in the Weekly Standard, such spending would inevitably “create even larger deficits and add to an already high national debt.”

He’s a guy who summed up the financial crisis in 2009 by saying that one of its “big losers” was “support for American-style capitalism” and that this loss of support had “consequences we’ll be living with for a long time to come.” Two words: wishful thinking. Stiglitz (as we’ll see) would like nothing better than to see support for “American-style capitalism” disappear entirely.

DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 31JAN09 - Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University, USA, at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch
Stiglitz at Davos, 2009

He’s a guy who’s tirelessly tried to sell the argument that inequality of income and wealth lies at the root of virtually all economic problems even though, as Patrick Brennan noted in National Review in 2012, there’s “almost no evidence that economic inequality causes financial crises.”

He’s a guy who has praised as a “miracle” the modest economic success of the big-government island nation of Mauritius while ignoring, as Reihan Salam pointed out in 2011, the truly spectacular performance of a country like Singapore, whose hands-off approach to the private sector is utterly at odds with Stiglitz’s prescriptions.

Gregg calls him “an old-line modern liberal,” charging that his response to the 2008 crisis was “worthy of FDR or LBJ.” In fact, the word socialist suits Stiglitz far better than liberal. 

Why? We’ll start answering that question tomorrow. 

 

One thought on “Joe Stiglitz, big-government guru

  1. Keynesian policies have failed for the past century and yet since they empower the few over the many they are continued. Keynesianism impoverished 99% of the population but the 1% runs the media, so they get to claim everything is great! Take a look at the Obama administration: media has done a great job of manipulating statistics to make a dismal presidency look like a great one to the untrained eye

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s