South Africa: Joseph Stiglitz Speaks On Opportunities for SA Economy but Warns 'Austerity' Doesn't Deliver


Nobel-prize-winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz recently visited SA and spoke at a forum organised by the Department of Trade and Industry. Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ) co-director Gilad Isaacs caught up with him and asked him for his views on the global economy, SA's prospects, austerity, wealth taxes and more.

Daily Maverick (DM): I'd like to start with the global context. What do you think slowing growth, reduced trade, rising anxiety, and risks in financial markets mean for a small open economy like South Africa? What sort of threats and opportunities exist?

Joseph Stiglitz (JS): Countries around the world are facing hard times: China is slowing down, and would be irrespective of Trump; uncertainty is depressing investment around the world; in Europe, Germany is not prepared to use demand-side policy, so growth is slowing in Europe (Germany is officially in a recession); the US economy is not doing as well as it should be, given the magnitude of the fiscal stimulus; although the Trump tax cuts had a short-term stimulus, its overall design was poor - growth has already slowed down; and to compound all this, multilateralism is being undermined and there is pervasive uncertainty.

This creates a difficult international...

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