Friday, September 20, 2002

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One mad economist

When I was a graduate student in the early nineties, I was lucky enough to have Joe Stiglitz teach me macroeconomics. He was an energetic, inquisitive teacher, but what always struck me was how gentle he could be -- it was a stark contrast to some my other economics instructors.

I think eight years in Washington has purged the gentleness out of Stiglitz. There's his latest book, Globalization and Its Discontents, in which he excoriated the IMF and the U.S. Treasury Department for their response to the 1998 crisis in East Asia. Now, check out this article in the November Atlantic Monthly. There's simply no way to read this but as a rant against Robert Rubin, who as Treasury Secretary steamrolled Stiglitz in many a bureaucratic tussle.

Stiglitz is right about a lot of what he says, but the essay reads like a drink of sour milk. And he distorts/exaggerates the section on East Asia. For a sober critique of Stiglitz's obsession of "market fundamentalism," click here.

Stiglitz is now at Columbia. I hope the gentleness returns soon.

posted by Dan on 09.20.02 at 03:18 PM