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Chatting Up A Storm - Claudia Cragg


Apr 13, 2010

This interview is with the economist Joseph Stiglitz who has played a number of policy roles and discussion revolves mostly around his latest book, Freefall: America, Free Markets and the Sinking of the World Economy.

Stiglitz has advised American President Barack Obama, but has also been sharply critical of the Obama Administration's financial-industry rescue plan. Stiglitz said that whoever designed the Obama administration's bank rescue plan is “either in the pocket of the banks or they’re incompetent.

Professor Stiglitz (he teaches at Columbia) served in the Clinton Administration as the chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisors (1995 – 1997). At the World Bank, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist (1997 – 2000), in the time when unprecedented protest against international economic organizations started, most prominently with the Seattle WTO meeting of 1999. He was fired by the World Bank for expressing dissent with its policies. He was a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He is a member of Collegium International, an organization of leaders with political, scientific, and ethical expertise whose goal is to provide new approaches in overcoming the obstacles in the way of a peaceful, socially just and an economically sustainable world.

He was born in Gary, Indiana, to Jewish parents, Charlotte and Nathaniel Stiglitz. From 1960 to 1963, he studied at Amherst College, where he was a highly active member of the debate team and President of the Student Government. He went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his fourth year as an undergraduate, where he later pursued graduate work. His undergraduate degree was awarded from Amherst College. From 1965 to 1966, he moved to the University of Chicago to do research under Hirofumi Uzawa who had received an NSF grant. He studied for his PhD from MIT from 1966 to 1967, during which time he also held an MIT assistant professorship. The particular style of MIT economics suited him well - simple and concrete models, directed at answering important and relevant questions. From 1969 to 1970, he was a Fulbright research fellow at the University of Cambridge.

In subsequent years, he held professorships at Yale University, Stanford University, Duke University, Oxford University and Princeton University. Stiglitz is now a Professor at Columbia University, with appointments at the Business School, the Department of Economics and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and is editor of The Economists' Voice journal with J. Bradford DeLong and Aaron Edlin. He also gives classes for a double-degree program between Sciences Po Paris and Ecole Polytechnique in 'Economics and Public Policy'. As of 2005 he chairs The Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester. Stiglitz is generally considered to be a New-Keynesian economist.