Stiglitz is agin’ Cap and Trade (12/12/07)

Graphic from Whirled Bank Group, a spoof of the World Bank, obviously, from the non-profit Many Threads (formerly Institute for Equity, Ecology, Humor and Art, or IEEHA) started in 1998 by Corp Watch’s program director and journalist Pratap Chatterjee (bio,email), filmmaker Lina Hoshino, and software engineer Derek Chung. Their other projects, in addition to films, include the sites Global Arcade, the Washington Monopoly Game.

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Today, I found a great piece in the December 8 Guardian by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, “Carbon Taxing the Rich.” I had some trouble tracking this one down, as it wasn’t on the syndicator’s website and the mention of it came from a German organization’s French compilation, established in conjuction with a German magazine, and citing the article as it appeared today in La Paz (Spain)!

See also an article I found from last year in my goosechase for the current article: Stiglitz, Joseph (2006) “A New Agenda for Global Warming,” The Economists’ Voice: Vol. 3 : Iss. 7, Article 3 ( available for for free download if you cite an academic association which can include “other” if you are only an alum or user of the university library, for instance.) Or, if you want a copy, I’ve got it in pdf.

I also enjoyed his piece in the December Vanity Fair, “The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush.”

Stiglitz won his Nobel for initiating the field of “Information Economics” which includes not only the market economy, but the political economy. From Gary, Indiana, he perceived that the city, now in decline had, even in its heydey, been plagued by “poverty, periodic unemployment, and massive racial discrimination.” He found Adam’s Smith’s “invisible hand” theory of the efficiency of markets to be unpersuasive in their denial of economic discrimination. His mission as an economist became that if the theory that “we were living in the best of all possible worlds – were true, it seemed to me that we should be striving to create a different world.” Having read his Nobel lecture, I arrived at a question not raised there nor here, of whether the current administration has, in its quest to privatize in the absense of governance based on information, ignored wealth creation across the board, and instead, contributed to the stipping of assets and destruction of wealth of a large sector in order to enrich a small minority. This would explain the growing disparity in wealth and assets in the U.S. You can read Stiglitz’s Nobel Prize lecture here.

What I hadn’t realized until I looked for a graphic is that Stiglitz resigned in protest from his position as Chief Economist at the World Bank, where he served from 1996 until 1999, dwhen he came under pressure to keep quiet after he became quite critical of World Bank policy. The link at the beginning of this paragraph is for an excerpt to his piece What I Learned At the World Economic Crisis,” which appeared in the April 2000 New Republic. Hat tip to Minfully.org, as it’s no longer available from the magazine.

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And, for you computer types, especially with a social conscience of a non-newconservative bent, here’s an interesting site I found today, via a listserve post analyzing an Alternet article, as forwarded today by David Rothman: http://www.cybertrails.org/

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