In New York? See the “Joe Stiglitz Movie” at Lincoln Center Wednesday, 12/3


joe stiglitz lincoln center twn.jpg
Joseph Stiglitz is an economist I wish Barack Obama would spend some more time with.
I can’t attend this one time only showing of Around the World with Joseph Stiglitz but I would if in New York. I’ll be on a plane to Brussels.
Hope some of you can make it and report back.
— Steve Clemons
There are a limited number of tickets for $5 available. If you would like one, please email


20 comments on “In New York? See the “Joe Stiglitz Movie” at Lincoln Center Wednesday, 12/3

  1. söve says:

    Change is coming, like it or not. entire world and progressives here in the land of Oz are hoping Obama will work to usher in that change with wisdom, balance, and equanimity, and work to advance and protect the bests interests of the people. Nothing has been done to stem the bushgov raping, robbing, and pillaging of the America’s poor and middleclass. Apostates like Liberman are unilaterally forgiven. Dems run like frightened rabbits to toss trillions of the peoples dollars in bailouts for the thieves and snakeoilsalesmen on Wall Street, and absolutely NOTHING has changed – but hope.


  2. Patty H says:

    Saw “Around the world…” last night in a sold out theater at Lincoln Center. I was not that impressed with the documentary unfortunately. The film is somewhat slow moving and needs much more polish. It adequately presents an overview of Stiglitz’opinions about globalization but, the film was completed before the economic crisis of the last two months had taken place and that is something of a problem. The film also does not really examine the relationship between the US and China or where it needs to be with reference to globalization in sufficient depth.
    Free trade was a key theme of the film and Stiglitz, and some excellent interviews with the current President of Ecuador and the current Indian Minister of Trade and Industry(and others) explain why free trade has not worked out for the developing world and why it has not worked out for the US either. Stiglitz and many of the interviews, explain why more balanced trade agreements would be best for the US and the developing world.
    Fortunately, Stiglitz (and the filmmaker) were available on stage after the film finished and took questions from an audience that hung on Stiglitz’ every word. Few people left the auditorium before the moderator finished the Q&A and I do believe the audience would have stayed for hours, just to listen to Stiglitz answer questions. Stiglitz said he was willing to wait and see whether the Obama economic team would succeed and was not willing to comment on any of the team members last night.


  3. Linda says:

    In my first (the first) comment above, I mentioned Galbraith (James)as one of several progressive economists I’d like to see in Obama Administration, and I agree about Peter Galbraith too.
    Both sons and many others in a very witty and enjoyable program spoke at John Kenneth Galbraith’s memorial service in 2006. It’s available on-line at


  4. WigWag says:

    Linda, after you mentioned it, I fished out a copy of the “Best and the Brightest” from my bookshelf and fell asleep reading it. One last thing comes to mind about it. One of the Kennedy advisors who was prominently mentioned in the book was the great economist, John Kenneth Galbraith. To my mind, one very positive thing Obama could do to improve his appointments would be to select two of Galbraith’s sons to senior positions in his administration.
    Peter Galbraith is a former Ambassador to Croatia and has been one of the most prescient analysts of the Iraq imbroglio. He was one of the experts who called early on for a very decentralized Iraq. He would be a great Ambassador to Iraq. His book, “Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America’s Enemies” is really fantastic. Certainly there should be some senior position in an Obama/Clinton State Department for him although it has been rumored that he wants to run for Governor of Vermont.
    And James Galbraith (like Joe Stiglitz) is exactly the type of progressive economist that Obama needs to listen to to counterbalance the Wall Street types who are going to be running the show.
    This is some of what James Galbraith has had to say:
    “Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature — a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live.”
    Obama should go one better than John Kennedy. Kennedy picked one Galbraith; Obama should pick two!


  5. TonyForesta says:

    Intriguing and informative thread. These are rhetorical questions, correct? The Obama economic team and Obama himself are NOT consulting the “best and brightest” in the “Fair trade for all” camp like Stiglitz, correct? The answer is no. No. The Obama team is selecting supplyside privitazation proponents and apologists who are largely responsible for conjuring, bruting, exacerbating, and profitting from the economic crisis.
    Far more disturbing is the brutal fact that the system as we knew it, and America’s position in the that failed system are permanently altered. Printing trillions of dollars and pouring it into the finance sector alone is the cause of the problem, – not the solution.
    Packaging debt instrument, upon collateralized debt obligations, and hedging with credit defaults swaps is a ponzi scheme. A very sophisticated newworldorder ponzi scheme, – but a ponzi scheme, a house of cards, – and now it has collapsed. The finance sector globally must unwind 20 to 25 trillion dollars. Compare with America’s GDP. Compare with the total assets of every bank on earth, and it is impossible not to recognize the blackhole the entire world, but particularly America must navigate. There will be pain. That pain must be distributed equally with equanimity. Heaping all the debts, deprivations, and pain on poor and middle class American’s particularly, but all poor and middle class people, and excluding, immunizing, and shielding the superrich, the predator class from it’s fair share of the pain is economically unfeasible and morally reprehensible.
    Change is coming, like it or not. The entire world and progressives here in the land of Oz are hoping Obama will work to usher in that change with wisdom, balance, and equanimity, and work to advance and protect the bests interests of the people. Nothing has been done to stem the bushgov raping, robbing, and pillaging of the America’s poor and middleclass. Apostates like Liberman are unilaterally forgiven. Dems run like frightened rabbits to toss trillions of the peoples dollars in bailouts for the thieves and snakeoilsalesmen on Wall Street, and absolutely NOTHING has changed – but hope.
    Progressives may not get half of what we seek, but the centerrighties, and the fascists on the right have failed miserably, broken the entire system, and are hurling America off the proverbial cliff.
    We need real change, – not for ideological reasons, – but for practical necessity. The oldschool, oldworld economists and their irredeemable debt, crumbs off the richmans’ table, supplyside voodoo economics has FAILED, and is crashing and burning.
    Change necessary, inevitable, and fast approaching. Rigidly holding to the FAILED oldworld theories and systems is suicidal.
    Obama has done nothing to alter the current trajectory. His economic team is suspect, deeply intrenched in the industries and key oligarchs and organizations that are responsible for creating most of the problems America and the entire world must now hazard and endure.
    This is repitition, – not change.


  6. Linda says:

    Just read Holbrookes review on-line that will be in Sunday’s paper–think I’ll skip the book though it sounds as if it should be required reading for Obama and his national security and military appointees.
    It appears that both Bundy and McNamara had deep regrets later in life. McNamara refused to voice any public opinion about going into Iraq and might have made a difference if he had. Bundy, of course, had already passed away by then.
    It is ironic that both Bundy and H. Rowan Gaither ended up as President of Ford Foundation. The Gaither Committee Report in late 1950s said that we had a missile gap with USSR that we learned decades later was no more real than Iraq’s WMDs.
    The position I’ll watch to see if there is real change is the Office of Net Assessment at DOD. Andrew Marshall was appointed its director by Nixon in 1973. Cohen in Clinton Administration tried to get rid of him and couldn’t.
    Marshall is about 87 years old and goes all the way back to the “Dr. Strangelove” era. He’s also known as “Yoda” for pushing the Star Wars missile defense. Among his acolytes known as Jedi Knights are Armitae, Cheney, Khalilzad, Perle, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz.


  7. WigWag says:

    Sorry Joe M that my writing doesn’t live up to your high standards. You’re right that James Wolfesohn was the World Bank President and that Stiglitz was Senior Vice President for Development and Chief Economist. But you’re wrong about “Globalization and its Discontents.”
    Was Stiglitz a “savior” of the left? Well his devastating critique of the IMF sure makes him sound like one. During the 1990s the policies that the IMF insisted on before providing assistance to developing countries were horrendous. They resulted in massive unemployment, unnecessary social turmoil and dramatic declines in living standards.
    This is what Stiglitz said about the IMF in a New Republic article from 2000,
    “They’ll say the IMF is arrogant. They’ll say the IMF doesn’t really listen to the developing countries it is supposed to help. They’ll say the IMF is secretive and insulated from democratic accountability. They’ll say the IMF’s economic ‘remedies’ often make things worse – turning slowdowns into recessions and recessions into depressions. And they’ll have a point. I was chief economist at the World Bank from 1996 until last November, during the gravest global economic crisis in a half-century. I saw how the IMF, in tandem with the U.S. Treasury Department, responded. And I was appalled.”
    Stiglitz’s criticism of austerity and privatization measures required by the IMF escalated continuously during his tenure at the World Bank. Criticism of the IMF from such a senior World Bank executive was as brave as they were unprecedented.
    And it has been widely reported that Larry Summers hated Stiglitz’s guts and tried to get him fired.
    In 2000, Joe Stiglitz gave an interview to the Progressive. Here are some snippets from that interview:
    Q: The IMF has extraordinary powers to affect countries in times of crisis. Who does it represent? Who controls it?
    Stiglitz: Finance ministers and central bank governors have the seats at the table, not labor unions or labor ministers. Finance ministers and central bank governors are linked to financial communities in their countries, so they push policies that reflect the viewpoints and interests of the financial community and barely hear the voices of those who are the first victims of dictated policies.
    Q: Who wins when the U.S. and the IMF impose their bailouts on countries in crisis?
    Stiglitz: These policies protect foreign creditors. If I came to the problem of what can I do to maintain the Thai economy from the perspective of the chairman of the collection committee of the international creditors, I might mistakenly say the most important thing is to make sure people don’t abrogate their debt. Senior people in the IMF actually said that not paying the debt was an abrogation of a contract, whereas anybody who knows about capitalism knows that bankruptcy is an essential part of capitalism.
    Q: How else do IMF and World Bank policies affect workers?
    Stiglitz: During my three years as chief economist of the World Bank, labor market issues were looked at through the lens of neoclassical economics. “Wage rigidities”–often the fruits of hard-fought bargaining–were thought part of the problem facing many countries. A standard message was to increase labor market flexibility. The not-so-subtle subtext was to lower wages and lay off unneeded workers.
    They had a strategy for job destruction. They had no strategy for job creation. Many of the policies the IMF pursued as they were killing off jobs made job creation almost impossible. In the U.S., you couldn’t have job creation with interest rates of 30 or 40 percent. They had a philosophy that said job creation was automatic. I wish it were true. Just a short while after hearing, from the same preachers, sermons about how globalization and opening up capital markets would bring them unprecedented growth, workers were asked to listen to sermons about “bearing pain.” Wages began falling 20 to 30 percent, and unemployment went up by a factor of two, three, four, or ten.
    I don’t know about you Joe M, but to me these comments seem far to the left of what we’re hearing from any economist Obama has selected to work for him so far. Is Stiglitz a savior? Well I know there’s only supposed to be one of those in the Obama Administration, but Stiglitz sure sounds like the next best thing.
    Steve Clemons is right. Now that Obama has appointed Summers and all of his ilk that he could find; it’s time to start listening to economists like Joe Stiglitz.


  8. Joe M. says:

    oops, ironically. I meant “before” you write, not “because” you write.


  9. Joe M. says:

    Without going into all the details, you have no clue what you are talking about. The most obvious mistake, which you repeat several times, is that Stiglitz was never world bank president. He was world bank chief economist and a vice president.
    Further, though I like Stiglitz, he is no savior of the left.
    Globalization and its discontents was a bunch of weird anecdotes which little wisdom in it. Though, ‘Fair Trade for All,’ by Stiglitz and Andrew Charlton was much better and more innovative, though it seemed that Charlton wrote the majority of it and just put Stiglitz’s name on it for publicity.
    Anyway, moral of the story, get your facts right because you write.


  10. WigWag says:

    Linda, it’s funny you should mention David Halberstam’s “The Best and the Brightest.” The last time a young, newly elected, Democratic President appointed a moderate Republican of impeccable credentials as National Security Advisor, the person in question was McGeorge Bundy. Of course Bundy was one of the major architects for the war in Viet Nam. Let’s pray that Obama’s choice of Jones works out better than Kennedy’s choice of Bundy.
    In case you are interested, there is a new book out about McGeorge Bundy written by Gordon Goldstein. It is called, “LESSONS IN DISASTER: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam.” If you want to learn more, there’s a review of it by Richard Holbrooke in this week’s New York Times Book Review.
    You’re right, Halberstam’s term “the best and the brightest” could easily apply to Obama’s selections so far. Let’s hope that Obama’s picks produce fewer foreign policy disasters.
    We don’t need any modern day versions of the Bay of Pigs or Viet Nam.


  11. Tuma says:

    Pretty informative Stiglitz autobiography here:


  12. John McSame says:

    Joe Stiglitz is a brilliant economist and someone who Obama should be taking cues from. He is also the worst public speaker I have ever heard.


  13. Linda says:

    The only Democratic candidate who would have pleased those of us who are progressives was Kuchinich, and he didn’t stand a chance. Neither Obama nor Clinton were going to be that far left. So I expected to be disappointed in their appointments.
    Remember that Reich left Clinton Administration after the first term, and Peter Edelman left over welfare reform. If Hillary had any influence on Bill then, I didn’t see it.
    I pretty much agree with WigWag and POA on being disappointed with the appointments so far but want to see the full Cabinet as well as many of the deputy, under secretary appointments as well, especially at DOD, State, HHS–and at least wait to see what Obama does in the first year or two.
    I do smile when references are made to “the best and the brightest” as people tend to forget that this was the group that gave us Vietnam.


  14. TonyForesta says:

    The economic team Obama assembled is not progressive. Shattered hopes, and dread concern aside, – the more serious issue is that the neo-liberal, or Clintonian economic minds are too deeply entrenched with Wall Street, and the kind of supplyside, fundamentalist, irredeemable debt economics that caused and are exacerbating the current crisis. Printing more money, and exhausting bad debt or toxic products with even more bad debt and toxic producuts is doomed to fail. Just as there is no killing our way to victory in Iraq or Afghanistan, so there is no borrowing our way to economic stability.
    Obama promised that “help is on the way”. But if that help is focused on bailing out the criminals swindlers, and frauds on Wall Street the superrich, – the predator class who own the lions share of responsibility for this crisis and devastating unwinding, – then America dig deeper and deeper into a blackhole of debt, deficits, massive unemployment, and ferocious divides between thehaves, and thehavenots. The result will not be pretty, or peaceful.
    The American middle class needs help from the government, not the predator class. We need jobs. Those jobs can be developed by pursuing progressive ends; investing in green technologies, green indudstries, and the massive infrastructure necessary to accomodate those tecnnologies, and industries. American companies that take jobs overseas must be punished by higher taxes, and every kind of legal penalty or disincentive imaginable to dissuade American companies from sending jobs oversea’s and exploiting cheaper labor foces and lax environmental laws in foreign countries.
    Universal health care may meet with the screeches, and blood curdling shrieks of “socialism” from wingnuts, bluedogdems, and fascists in the predator class, – but we are the only first world nation that fails to provide basic health care for its citizens. Universal health care, nationalizing and FIERCELY REGULATING the healthcare and insurance industries
    will inject income and liquidity into our poor and middle class pockets by cutting our healthcare and insurance outlays to zero. Bussiness and industries will also reap a similar gain by removing the burdensome, and in the case of the auto industry crushing costs of healthcare obligations.
    Here is another suggestion. Push the elligibility age for joining the military to 55, or at least provide for exceptions. Individuals who do not meet the military’s requirement for retirement, can sign waivers in exchange for continued benefits as long as they serve. We are an aging population, and must provide the saftey net for that population not only through entitlements, but by provide jobs, job training, and further eductation benefits to that aging population. This would nueter the coming necessity of a draft by including a larger segment of the population in the right to serve.
    There are many solutions, to working our way out of this nightmare, but NONE of them include the continued robbing and pillaging of poor and middle class Americans to feed the predator class, the superrich.
    Obama has is not yet president, and while I am worried and very disheartened by the directions his administration appears to be taking economically, – I still hold hope and trust in him (though don’t ask me why, because I couldn’t give you a good answer).
    While I am not ready to give up on Obama, I am a progressive and one of the poor/middle class American who voted for him for real change, and so quite concerned about the kind of solutions Obama’s economic team are plotting, – which at this point – do not involve the real change America needs, and most Obama voters expected and will demand.


  15. DonS says:

    Glenn Grenwald has a nifty little “sweet lemon” post on why noone should be surprised at Obama choosing ‘right of center’ for his cabinet.
    And Obama himself has said “hey, whaddya think I couldda come up with a cabinet without all these Washington types?”
    So, that about covers the waterfront: right of center, and Washington hands.
    So, why not a Robert Reich, for instance?


  16. MarkL says:

    Fantastic comment. In my opinion, so-called Progressives who refused to demand anything from Obama during the primaries share at least some blame for the regressive economic appointsments Obama is making.
    Somehow, Obama sailed through the primary and election season with hardly a promise made.
    He didn’t need to say “read my lips”—he got away with saying “just trust me”.


  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, is this the Twilight Zone? I need to be pinched, reading a Wigwag post that I completely agree with.
    Many times I posited here that the fact that the same media entities that abetted George Bush and Dick Cheney were responsible for the creation and marketing of Barack Obama. I have, on occasion, referred to Obama as a “Trojan Horse”, as has Carroll at times used the same description. Is it possible that the current state of the union is by design? And that the players behind Dick Cheney and George Bush, realizing that the cowering and disillusioned masses would not elect a Republican to the Presidency following the blatant criminality, wanton profiteering, looting, thefts, and human rights abuses of the “Bush Administration”, created and marketed a fellow monster masquerading as a White Knight? His appointments would seem to suggest as much. And if so, we the people will do nothing, as we have done these last eight years. They’ve stolen our nation, and our children’s futures from us, and we’ve milled around in our pens, bleating like sheep while they’ve destroyed the very foundation of what we once stood for.


  18. WigWag says:

    Nobel Prize winner, Joe Stiglitz is terrific. His book “Globalization and its Discontents” is a must read. His service as World Bank President was extraordinary, especially the forcefulness with which he regularly eviscerated the International Monetary Fund for the heartless and regressive policies it insisted that developing nations adopt. Obama should appoint Jeffrey Sachs as head of the Agency for International Development and Stiglitz and Sachs should work together to formulate sustainable and environmentally friendly development polices. This could be world changing.
    It’s ironic that Bill Clinton found room in his administration for both neo-liberal Wall Street types like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers as well as real progressives like Stiglitz and Robert Reich. After all, Clinton appointed Stiglitz twice; first to Chair the President’s Council of Economic Advisors and then to head the World Bank.
    Obama seems to love Clinton’s neo-liberal economic team. After all, he selected Bob Rubin protégé Tim Geither to run the Department of Treasury and he appointed former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers to be his Senior Advisor for economic policy. Obama even reached back to the Carter Administration to appoint former Fed Chair Paul Volker whose main claim to fame was curing inflation by engineering one of the worst recessions in US history that resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs. But unlike Clinton, Obama can’t seem to find room in his administration for even one progressive economist.
    Actually, I can’t help but wonder whether Obama’s most ardent supporters are feeling foolish yet. So far Obama’s repudiated everything they believe in. During the campaign, Obama supporters assured everyone that experience as we traditionally understood it didn’t matter. They insisted that non-traditional experience, like being a community organizer was just as good or maybe even better. Well I haven’t noticed Obama appointing any community organizers to his administration. In fact, he seems to have a penchant for the hyper-experienced. Obama’s mantra seems to be “if you haven’t done the job before or if there is any evidence that you ever think outside the box, don’t bother applying for a senior position with me.”
    And what about that “change you can believe in” credo. To me it looks more like Yogi Berra’s famous expression, “deja vu all over again.” His national security appointments are two Republicans, Gates at Defense and James Jones as National Security Advisor (for those who don’t know it, Jones was a big proponent for Kosovo independence). I guess Obama wants to prove the old adage that Democrats can’t be trusted to take care of national security. As Secretary of State, Obama is about to appoint the one candidate that his supporters insisted was a neocon in sheep’s clothing. But perhaps Obama supporters don’t need to worry. After all, Gates, Jones and Clinton will always be able to rely on the advice of that great and incisive strategist, Joe Biden. And the progressives? Anthony Lake, Samantha Powers and Susan Rice; well so far, they are no where to be found. Actually that’s not exactly accurate, Samantha Power is on the Obama foreign policy transition team helping to prepare the woman she called a monster for her confirmation hearings.
    So now that we know many of Obama’s most important team members, it has become clear that his team is to the right of the teams appointed by the last two Democratic Presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
    I think it’s too bad that when Obama said “yes we can” he wasn’t referring to appointing progressives like Stiglitz. When it comes to appointing progressive thinkers to senior positions what Obama really meant to say is “no we can’t.”


  19. Anna Shen says:

    This should be an amazing film – Joseph Stiglitz’ insights on globalization are groundbreaking. Considering the global financial crisis, this should be an amazing opportunity for some Q and A with someone with real vision and experience.


  20. Linda says:

    The Obama economic team is skewed toward a lot of economists and others who are center/right, have been involved in banking and financial areas, etc. and helped to create the economic crisis.
    I don’t see enough of Stiglitz, Krugman, Galbraith, Pollan, and Reich. Indeed the Secretary of Labor has not yet been selected and should be part of the basic economic team.
    Real change would include much more representation among top advisors of those who represent interests of ordinary workers and people who end up holding the bag,paying the price, and suffering the consequences.


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