A True American Hero: Joseph E. Stiglitz

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Wed, 04/14/2010 - 05:47 | 299593 mwmolloy
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children, children, when you fight you only hurt yourselves.  now go to your rooms.

Fri, 12/11/2009 - 21:46 | 160837 Anonymous
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Austrian "School" of economics is nothing more than fundamentalism disproved over and over by empirical data. It belongs in the minds of people with fundamentalist and often extreme anti-government views. Once upon a time they had their contributions but unfortunately chose to stay in the stone age of economics. Any rational person that decides to do an honest study of the topic will come to this conclusion.... unless their biases weight more than their rationality which is often the case.

Thu, 08/06/2009 - 00:21 | 26775 ph012
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Wed, 08/05/2009 - 21:37 | 26611 Anonymous
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The "Austrian school" is to economics what the Little League is to baseball.

That is, only for relatively unpracticed amateurs.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 22:03 | 26641 . . .
. . .'s picture

The Austrians can't be worse than the macroeconists that have populated the Fed and Treasury for the past 20 years.  They seem to cave to industry at every turn, and then try to justify their cowardice and corruption with sophistic arguments.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 20:39 | 26571 rapier
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He's an economist.  That's a pretty big hole to climb out of. Economics is usually flawed because it has been denying it's roots for a century or more. Before there was economics there was the Political Economy.


Economic performance and outcomes are far more influenced by politics than by markets. libertarians have this childlike naivete that they can be seperated. Right. Just as soon as all men become saints.


It wasn't like he was doomed to poverty by getting kicked out of the IMF for speaking against it's policies but in doing so he did something almost unheard of in this age. He rejected the duties of a company man. That isn't a little thing, to judge a man by at any rate.  For the most part nobody speaks their mind anymore. Our leaders and all their underlings lie. They know we know they are lying.  We know they know that we know they  are lying.  Everyone plays their role.




Thu, 08/06/2009 - 10:14 | 27171 Bob
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Yeah, it's something truly honest people know perfectly well.  But you can't say it without being choked out with a flag or beat to death with a hardcover copy of Atlas Shrugged, because as much as everyone knows they're lying, the role requires you to pretend you don't know and say that, well, if there's corruption, it's those guys.  That means nobody ever has to admit it's they themselves. 

Ah, another day in America.  I love the smell of truth in the morning . . . it smells like . . . victory. 

Too bad you can only do it online. 

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 16:53 | 26315 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

henry hazlitt is also a hero a la economics in one lesson. inflation is not a way out.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 16:53 | 26314 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

henry hazlitt is also a hero a la economics in one lesson. inflation is not a way out.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 14:21 | 25999 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

stiglitz is a fool.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 10:25 | 25656 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Thanks for a fantastic post. I picked up "The Roaring Nineties" on a whim one day after reading the cover at the bookstore. I knew very little of Stiglitz. The book sat on my shelf collecting dust for a couple of years, but eventually I read it. He discussed things that had always seemed to me like they were true, but bombastic voices denied or drowned out causing me to think my gut instinct was faulty. Stiglitz's book frequently provided justification for my instincts. In particular, I found his ideas about asymetric information fascinating. His is, in my view, one of the few trustworthy voices out there today. Thanks again for writing about him.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 05:07 | 25471 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

This is really kind of laughable. I laughed back in the 1990's when they spoke of crony capitalism in Asia, like Rubin and company wasn't running it over here. They turn their heads over and over again while Citi and others operate on edge or bankrupt, stepping on the smaller banks in the system who play by the rules. Stiglitz knows you can't just let banks fail at least not at this time. The great secret of bank failure and deposit insurance is the depositors are the insurers. This is the only money in the accounts or in the system. Banks don't have money, only assets and credits with other banks. If the American people figured out what kind of sham the government has become in the face of the small group of NY elite, they would revolt in a matter of days. That is if they had enough sense to recognize they were being made slaves a little at a time.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 03:19 | 25456 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Wouldn't wish to comment on his economic theories cause I don't feel I'm qualified to poke holes in them. He does, however, come across as a guy who calls a spade a spade, and today that's very rare.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 02:21 | 25435 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Obama's change = much more of the same.

Cheated voters much?

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 23:52 | 25305 agrotera
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I am not going to reply to any of the comments here--looks like a few appreciate Dr. Steiglitz, and the others throw him out for his non support of the big bankheist.

Dr. Steiglitz was staunch supporter of Obama, but that all changed as it became apparent that instead of a thoughtful fresh opportunity would arise with the Obama administration, what we really have is a groupthinkthinktank that has morphed into a complete crony based administration that may morph again into a dictatorship.

We all were held hostage by paulson and bernake that it would be the end of democracy if we "nationaized" the banks--instead we gave away the future of our children in lieu of an honest nationization which could have been established long enough to break apart the monsters created by the revocation of Glass-Steagall and the enactment of Graham Leach Bliley.

Steiglitz is a man of honor, giving us all the right leadership about the credit crisis, but sadly, his voice has been muted by the constant drum being beaten on behalf of the bank interests that endeavor to loot our country permanently.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 11:14 | 25721 Anonymous
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Well done, Agrotera.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 17:45 | 26391 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Yes, well done, Agrotera. Now go kill yourself.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:52 | 25012 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I met Dr. Stiglitz when I was in college. He was a great person to talk to and didn't use his knowledge to put you down. He does not have an air of superiority about him.

I also spent an entire game theory class studying his Lemon Problem. Theoretically the case is pretty sound: when you have a case where one side of a transaction knows so much more about the performance or reliability of an asset, the transaction should not take place because the other side can never be sure what it is they're buying. There's nothing anti-Austrian about that and there's really not much about game theory that the Austrians should have problem with. In fact, the game theory movement within neoclassical economics supports some of the same epistemological/aprioristic thinking the Austrians use.

When you think about why the MBS or CMBS markets will not clear (which I don't think they would clear even at 30% to par), it's because the banks have such an asymmetric information advantage over the purchasers of the securities. You cannot be sure that the asset will perform or is performing the way the seller says it does, so you never trade.

The other area Stiglitz contributed to was International Political Economy in his book "Globalism and Its Discontents". I don't agree with everything he has to say and I think Jagdish Bagwati was a better read, but it was still a meaningful discourse in the field.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 17:44 | 26390 Anonymous
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Only a ridiculous constructivist would talk about "asymmetric information." Lost in 60s-70s sophomoric mind games. Wake up, fool.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 21:54 | 26625 KevinB
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Hmm.. I seem to recall certain analysts during the tech boom publishing glowing reports on start-ups, and then bragging in their emails that the companies were complete dogs. Nothing asymmetric there, for sure.

Thu, 08/06/2009 - 07:45 | 27033 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

That doesn't disprove the Lemon Problem. That's like saying a mechanic could tell if a car was a piece of shit just looking under the hood for 5 minutes. But that mechanic puts food on the table for knowing that. Just like an analyst put food on the table for knowing which investments were shit or not.

BUT, mechanics are not the only ones buying cars, just as analysts are not the only ones buying securities. Asymmetric information still applies.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 20:27 | 25050 . . .
. . .'s picture

When you think about why the MBS or CMBS markets will not clear (which I don't think they would clear even at 30% to par), it's because the banks have such an asymmetric information advantage over the purchasers of the securities. You cannot be sure that the asset will perform or is performing the way the seller says it does, so you never trade.


Sorry, Charlie.  That is completely wrong.  The markets aren't clearing because the banks are holding assets at inflated prices, and hoping to earn their way out of their insolvent holes with handouts from Geithner and Bernanke, by giving them near zero rate funding, purchasing their assets at inflated prices, etc, etc.

The vulture funds have reverse engineered the waterfalls in CDOs and are offering fair prices.  Geithner, Bernanke, and co offer the banks a better deal though, so they have zero incentive to sell.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 21:02 | 25096 PragmaticIdealist
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How do you think the assets got so inflated? One of the reasons is that no one knew how to properly value or grade them and bid them up after they were mindlessly given AAA.... Another reason is that an over-levered financial sector plush with cash created mortgage products (subprime 0% down, ARMS, etc) that the masses didn't really understand the extent of the risk involved. Also, a lot of the predatory firms like GS created sketchy products, sold them and shorted them. Lots of asymmetric information in the crisis.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 21:26 | 25139 . . .
. . .'s picture

How do you think the assets got so inflated?


The usual reasons people do stuff that is wrong.  Some people were lazy and just used models without thinking about whether the models made sense.  Other people suspected the models were wrong, but didn't really want to know because they made money using the models.  Other people knew the models were wrong, but used them anyway because they wanted to make bonuses or because of pressure from peers or management to go with the flow.

It is like a lot of disasters, a story of varied human flaws and weaknesses.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 20:16 | 25036 erich
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"When you think about why the MBS or CMBS markets will not clear (which I don't think they would clear even at 30% to par), it's because the banks have such an asymmetric information advantage over the purchasers of the securities. You cannot be sure that the asset will perform or is performing the way the seller says it does, so you never trade."

Did they have absolute information when they vastly overpaid or did that come after?

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 20:26 | 25048 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

There's no way for anyone to have absolute information, because you would in turn have to have information about the future (in this case the performance of the loans). The fact that the rating agencies rated them AAA after 10 minutes was even more of joke when you ask that question.

But the question remains: if that's the case, why did the banks create these things in the first place if they're so prone to this liquidity risk? I'll go with the institutionalized moral hazard argument that the Fed was always providing an implicit (and now explicit) backstop to the banks and other securitizers. But if a bank like Goldman probably knew these things were shit and bet against them immediately after selling the securities, then there's a different case altogether.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 12:23 | 25831 Anonymous
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Why they did it? To game the Basel rules. There are quite a few good articles out there if you want to understand it more fully. Gillian Tett in FT is a place to start.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:06 | 24965 Anonymous
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A True American Bloated Fathead Shill: PragmaticIdealist.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 20:06 | 25031 Anonymous
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Agreed this guy is a moron..."PI"

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:33 | 24990 PragmaticIdealist
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Haha this made me laugh :)

Yes, yes, I felt like writing a dramatic piece in under an hour at work today so sue me.

But to all the critics: yes I know he had some run-ins with monetary policy and too much government control in the past, but he's really far more moderate compared to Krugman and he has been pretty accurate in predicting this crisis and its causes and giving good solutions... Sure, he is somewhat monetarist, but his articles also suggest a disdain for overly lax monetary policy.

I know what he says often conflicts with Austrian economics, but there is also a lot that doesn't, and I would argue the more important aspects.

And whenever I see him speak or read one of his pieces I always have the feeling he is pragmatic and very anti-cronyism.

And nationalizing the banks temporarily would have been a much better strategy than giving them free money or letting the entire system collapse overnight. At least that way the government could just directly lend itself and those who absolutely need capital without the middle-man... and, if Stiglitz was in charge, it would serve the National Interest and reduce systemic risk by de-leveraging...

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 14:47 | 26048 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Still stuck with your fathead ideas: "letting the entire system collapse overnight." Ridiculous. No such "system" would have collapsed. It was a pure corporatist criminal conspiracy play and you know it full well.

How much did you get paid to write this sick puff piece? Are you Alan Greenspan? You certainly know nothing about economics.

Heavens! What sick scum you are. Please commit suicide. RIGHT NOW!!

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:03 | 24961 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Heavens! What a farty old blowhard PragmaticIdealist is. Are we ABSOLUTELY sure this isn't just the nom de guerre of Ben Stein? Ben, you creepy little toad, are you in there? Now, we know you're in there Ben!

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:01 | 24959 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Ha ha! Setser, sidekick of suckup Roubini, has joined the Rezko Administration. NEVER go to RGE Monitor again--if indeed you have done so. For a more entertaining version, just go to the Disney channel.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:12 | 24967 . . .
. . .'s picture

No doubt Rahm and Co view a benefit of hiring Setser that they are killing his blog, and thereby the MSM's main source of info on investments by the foreign central banks and sovereign wealth funds.  Hopefully someone else picks up the baton, and starts tracking their investments.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 14:51 | 26057 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Now if ONLY Britney would hire NOURIEL as a roadie for her next tour, that would be SO awesome. I mean, he's, like, SUCH a slut, he's SO ignorant and he wants it SO bad. I mean, now that Kevin's PHAT, there's ONLY Nouriel. Hels, like, the new Andy Candy. I just LUV him!!!!!!!!!

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 17:59 | 24851 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

"In fact, the more you read/listen to Stiglitz, the more you understand that his theories are not mutually incompatible with Austrian economics."

Oh come on, this is a ridiculous claim.



"The paper that won him the Nobel prize proved that informational asymmetries in a market set-up will result in a less-than-desirable outcome for society. In other words, in the face of cronyism / insider information / market imperfections / Flash Order Systems / etc, there will be no optimizing free market 'invisible hand.'"

Stiglitz thinks the answer is not to stop government, but to do government better.

Not Austrian, in fact its the opposite!


"Although I have never seen him explicitly recognize Austrian economics, Stiglitz has proferred harsh criticisms of overly lax monetary policy, 'inflation-targeting' Fed policy,"

According to Reuters (2003), Stiglitz the same day said, “the Japanese government could stimulate domestic demand by printing money, in a form similar to U.S. treasury paper.” That is, above the money printing conducted by the Bank of Japan. - Reuters. (2003). Weaker yen may help Japan deflation fight-Stiglitz, April 14, 2003.


" and has insisted on letting banks fail and restructure themselves independently of government should have even the most dogmatic Ron Paul fan out there listening (search YouTube for examples)."

At a recent community forum on the economy, Professor Joseph Stiglitz argued in favor of temporary bank nationalization, calling it “not that big of a deal” and essential to changing incentive structures. “When the economy recovers, you privatize again,” he said.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:05 | 24963 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Oh rats. I put my Hitler/Rand comment in the wrong place. See below (as Hitler himself did). Is this some wretched old gremlin, or some adenoidal grad student? Anyway, a miserable cur.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 18:58 | 24950 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Thank you Adolf. I thought you were in Argentina boffing Ayn Rand. Non?

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 18:16 | 24881 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Nationalize criminal conspiracies? That shows you what a little suckup Stiglitz really is. In the name of "stability," I suppose. What ludicrously dark forces are Stiglitz' institutional backers. Sick, sick, sick.

Here's the picture: Rahm Emanuel has decided to up like the Wicked Witch in the "Wizard." There's that scene where she puts Dorothy's little dog in the basket on her bike.

Stiglitz is that little dog.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:46 | 25006 NorthenSoul
NorthenSoul's picture

"In the name of "stability," I suppose."

Yeah stability! What particular problem do you have with stability, ie. avoiding massive econ destruction with all the social explosions that comes with it?

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 18:28 | 24899 . . .
. . .'s picture

Nationalize criminal conspiracies? That shows you what a little suckup Stiglitz really is. In the name of "stability," I suppose. What ludicrously dark forces are Stiglitz' institutional backers. Sick, sick, sick.


Settle down beavis.  I'm no fan of Stiglitz on many issues.  However, Stiglitz has been referring to the FDIC's restructuring and wind-down proceedings as "temporary nationalizations".  Not some kind of banana republic third world seizures.  Or German type Landesbanks banking system, where the politicans appoint their buddies to run the damn banks.

I think Stiglitz and other left-wingers were referring to the FDIC resolution operations as "nationalizations" because they want to rehabilitate the word and get people to think it isn't so bad.  It was horrible salesmanship in fighting Paulson/Geithner/Bernanke.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 18:55 | 24947 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Thank you Rebecca, but don't look now, they've foreclosed on Sunnybrook Farm. Criminal conspiracies are criminal conspiracies. What is YOUR problem?

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 17:56 | 24845 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Oh dear, you really are an ass aren't you? Like Krugman, this little technocrat believes in general equilibrium. NO ONE believes in general equilibrium anymore.

Stiglitz' most interesting contribution is to law: about economics he knows nothing. He defined the notion of "capture." As I am sure you do NOT know, most policy passes Court muster if it has a "rational relation to a legitimate government purpose." That's the foundation of our entire current power structure (minimum scrutiny), as I am sure you did NOT know. (West Coast Hotel v Parrish, 1937)

If you can show "capture"--the substitution of private for government purpose--then you can challenge the policy as not meeting the requirement of government purpose.

It's one of the many "revisiting settled principle" things which has been going on during the last 10 or 15 years, as constant sniping brings the scrutiny regime to an unmourned end.

But that's Stiglitz' contribution. As an economist, he is pure constructivist garbage.

But I'm sure you know NOTHING about constructivism, either.

So why did you write this silly, uninformed essay? Go jump off a bridge.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 21:36 | 26610 KevinB
KevinB's picture

The notion of "capture" was first promulgated by Richard Posner, then a professor at the University of Chicago and now an Appeals court judge, in a 1975 article in the now-defunct Bell System Journal of Economics.

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 09:31 | 25562 Sancho Ponzi
Sancho Ponzi's picture

Your reply is delusional: about grammar you know nothing.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 21:00 | 25091 jm
jm's picture

I'm assuming you want your ideas to come across, and not just see your words on a webpage.  So let me offer with courtesy and candor:

1)  take a deep breath

2)  provide more explanation (e.g. West Coast Hotel vs. Parrish) and background before you dive right in to whatever you're saying

3)  most importantly, explain what the hell you are talking about in a coherent way, and don't cite a 100 page legal brief

4)  either enjoy the profitable commerce of ideas between people, or simply smile on the Void.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:13 | 24973 Johnny Galt
Johnny Galt's picture

Wowzers...ad hominem on the content contributor AND Stiglitz...with a nice straw man attack, to boot!


As someone who appears (or at least attempts to appear) to have studied law, you should be embarassed at the extremely poor quality of your reply. Though I may agree with you, I do not feel you have enlightened the community about why the author's line of thinking could be flawed.


Please show us that your previous reply was uncharacteristic by constructing a more reasonable commentary.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 18:29 | 24884 . . .
. . .'s picture

If you can show "capture"--the substitution of private for government purpose--then you can challenge the policy as not meeting the requirement of government purpose.


Good luck with that.  The pointy headed politicians are usually crafty enough to dress up their schemes with a legitimate purpose in addition to an impermissible private one.  For example, as corrupt a boondoggle as cap and trade is for the wall street crowd, it still arguably fights greenhouse gases (if you think those are a problem).

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:00 | 24956 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

"With?" It's just bad lawyering if you can't see through that. Or if you allow it as bootstrapping, which is what the idiot lawyers did who opposed Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards, which is why they have lost EVERY case.

Tue, 08/04/2009 - 17:52 | 24827 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I think the only way to fight Rubin's crew of Summers, Geithner, Bernanke, Orszag, Furman, etc, is by getting the so-called far left and far right to work together on issues where they agree the "washington consensus" is completely wrong.

For example, Senator Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist, and Senator Jim Demint is considered far right. However, both proposed legislation in the Senate to audit the Fed. Another example is the bank bailout vote where so-called far left senators like sanders and dorgan and so-called far right senators like brownback, demint, and inhofe voted against handouts to bank bondholders.

The far left and far right also agree that GS' cap and trade plan is garbage. Only by working together can they fight the cronyism of the so-called center.

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