Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

5 March 2014

South Africa: Joseph Stiglitz - It Was the Economists, Stupid!

analysis

Economist Joseph Stiglitz seems a politician's economist. Unlike those economists that President Harry Truman had so famously railed against with his cry, "For God's sake, will someone please send me a one-handed economist!" after he had heard one too many of those "well, on the one hand, but on the other hand" formulations, Joseph Stiglitz seems never to have been afraid to say exactly what he thinks about things - and his presentation at the Discovery Leadership Summit in Johannesburg was no exception. J. BROOKS SPECTOR listened to the lecture and then spoke with him afterwards.

Speaking to a full room, Stiglitz examined why the world's economies are still, for the most part, mired in a long, painfully slow glide path out of the financial crisis of 2008. As a economic critic and policy advisor, Stiglitz has become something of a favourite in places like South Africa, partly from his continued advocacy in support of structural reforms of the big international financial organisations.

In Wednesday's presentation, he asks why, five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, do global prospects still seem precarious? Stiglitz argues that at the core of it is that economic policy makers don't know how long...

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