Joseph E. Stiglitz is An Economist Who Believes Only Government Can Save Capitalism

Daniel W. Drezner in the New York Times:

A diverting Beltway pastime during the heyday of the Washington Consensus was to gently mock Joseph E. Stiglitz. It was remarkably easy for pundits to wave away his prestigious awards (Nobel Prize in Economics) and positions (World Bank chief economist, chairman of Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers) and dismiss his warnings about “market fundamentalism” as overripe hyperbole. In 2004 the financial columnist Sebastian Mallaby described Stiglitz as “like a boy who discovers a hole in the floor of an exquisite house and keeps shouting and pointing at it.” Fifteen years later, the house that capitalism built looks rather shabby. Maybe, just maybe, more people should have taken Stiglitz seriously.

This is certainly what Stiglitz, now a professor of economics at Columbia, is hoping for with his latest book, “People, Power, and Profits.” He argues that the American system of capitalism has fallen down and needs government help to get back up again. “People, Power, and Profits” builds on Stiglitz’s earlier work and adds some pretty big ambitions. In the preface, he writes: “This is a time for major changes. Incrementalism — minor tweaks to our political and economic system — are inadequate to the tasks at hand.”

More here.