Turning his attention to the United States, Stiglitz argues that much of what we understood about the prosperity of the 1990s is wrong. Although jobs were created, technology prospered, inflation fell and poverty was reduced, this book asserts that this decade actually laid the foundations for the economic problems we now face. Stiglitz argues that the theories that have been used to guide world leaders and anchor key business decisions were fundamentally outdated. Trapped in a near-ideological commitment to free markets, policymakers permitted accounting standards to slip, carried deregulation further than they should have, and pandered to corporate greed. These chickens, this book demonstrates, have now come home to roost.
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Joseph E. Stiglitz witnessed the policymaking process firsthand as a member and then chairman of Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. His book Globalization and Its Discontents has been translated into twenty-eight languages. He holds joint professorships at Columbia University's Economics Department, School of International and Public Affairs, and Business School, and was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics. He lives in New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
As an economic adviser to President Clinton and a World Bank official, Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz (Globalization and Its Discontents) had a front-row seat for the financial boom of the 1990s. He discusses how, contrary to all theory, reducing the national deficit led to the economic upswing, but his interest lies not in how the bubble happened but in those qualities that eventually led to its collapse. One of his chief arguments is that although efficient markets depend upon the free flow of information, deregulation enabled corporations like Enron to present distorted financial data, "stealing money from their unwary shareholders" in the process. Financial analysts also withheld frank assessments from investors to maintain their insider status, and the "conflicts of interest gone out of control" inevitably led to disaster. The book suggests Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan could have slowed things down, but failed to back up tentative public remarks with firm action. The Clinton administration also comes in for some of the blame for pressuring foreign countries to adopt policies it wouldn't apply to its own economy. But the largest portion of the blame is doled out to George W. Bush for mishandling the initial stages of the recession, allowing it to spiral dangerously in the name of free markets. Instead, Stiglitz calls for just enough regulation to promote what he dubs "Democratic Idealism," a fairly standard liberal platform of social justice and economic reform. Whatever one thinks of his long-term goals, the straightforward and well-reasoned summation of the last decade's market trends has a convincing ring of truth.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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