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Stiglitz on energy and the public sector

by Laurent GUERBY Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 03:43:58 PM EST

Just found this blog post (in french) mentionning an audio interview of Joseph Stiglitz on economy and the energy sector (both french and english simultaneous translation).

He says very clearly keep your energy in the public sector, "if it's not broken don't fix it", and do not privatize following ideology based economics. Follow some remarks on GDP, state of the USA.

Too short but interesting anyway.

If the MP3 link doesn't work, look here.


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He has a new book out.

On the basis of his other two books I'll definitely be buying and reading this one as soon as I have time.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:29:54 PM EST
BTW, if you read french, I recommand this post by Olivier Bouba-Olga on the (very small here) effect of dismishing "social" taxes on income in France.
by Laurent GUERBY on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:09:14 PM EST
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Thanks, interesting and also good practice for my rusty French reading skills.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:03:12 AM EST
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But if the writing is crisp, the arguments are a little soggy. Mr Stiglitz assumes the worst of markets, the best of governments--except, of course, his own. Too often, he wants to have it both ways: his distaste for the IMF has made him suspicious of all technocratic bodies, even to the point where he questions the case for independent central banks. But at the same time he wants to set up international tribunals to rule on unfair tax competition, for example, or health standards. He says that debt relief for the poorest countries is "simply a matter of accounting", because they could not repay anyway. But he also wants to argue that the burden of red ink has crippled them.

Despite his years in policy circles, he remains an artist of the impossible. Among his proposed solutions, he says that every country should open its markets to any economy that is both smaller and poorer. And any nation that does not impose a carbon tax to combat global warming should face tariffs from other countries that do. He argues that the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency gives America an exorbitant privilege--the ability to borrow heavily and cheaply from the rest of the world--and that Asia's determination to hoard dollars forces America to exploit this privilege. His proposal for "global greenbacks", an alternative reserve currency issued not by one country, but by international fiat, is inspired by Keynes's intriguing idea of an international clearing union. But if Keynes couldn't usher the idea into reality, Mr Stiglitz certainly can't.

"Making Globalisation Work" is not a bad book but it arrives after books that are better. Jagdish Bhagwati's arguments are more convincing ("In Defence of Globalisation"), Paul Blustein's reporting is more reliable ("And the Money Kept Rolling In and Out") and Martin Wolf provides a better guide to the economic research ("Why Globalisation Works"). That Mr Stiglitz, a great and original theorist, should spend his time writing a "me-too" globalisation book rather proves his point that markets sometimes misallocate resources.

http://economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_SRSJJDP

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 06:25:48 AM EST
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Well, on average, a critical review in the Economist is a sign that an author has managed to get at least something right.

They were hardly complimentary at the time about his last two books, as I recall.

Anyone who finds Bhagwati's arguments "convincing" is doing a disservice to the language concept of "a convincing argument" as Bhagwati simply doesn't engage with any notions about life that contradict his point of view.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:00:31 AM EST
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His proposal for "global greenbacks", an alternative reserve currency issued not by one country, but by international fiat, is inspired by Keynes's intriguing idea of an international clearing union. But if Keynes couldn't usher the idea into reality, Mr Stiglitz certainly can't.

Hmmm, one would have to know about the behind-the-scenes dealings leading to Bretton Woods to make sense of that line.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 11:37:29 AM EST
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That little section bothered me in another way. Sure, some great historical figure (in this case Keynes) failed to get a reform implemented. Does that mean it is invalid to ever try again? Does that mean that any "labour reform" that Thatcher tried to push through and failed can be discarded for all eternity?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 12:07:15 PM EST
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And any nation that does not impose a carbon tax to combat global warming should face tariffs from other countries that do.

I wonder what will happen when the lenders to the USA want something in exchange for their dollars. I don't see how the USA will not move to more open protectionism.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 12:29:25 PM EST
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