Joseph Stiglitz

(More spoken articles)

Quotes
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As chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers during the 1990s, I had to make projections about where the economy was going to be one, two, or three years ahead; frankly, I often found myself facing a cloudy crystal ball. Forecasting a few years out is hard enough; forecasting seventy-five years out is essentially impossible. Slight changes in life expectancy, immigration, wage growth, and interest rates could have large effects on the solvency of the (Social Security System.) Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Elderly, Aging. Old Age, Social Security & Pensions ;Social Sciences
As the trust deficit persists, a deeper rot takes hold: Attitudes and norms begin to change. When no one is trustworthy, it will be only fools who trust. The concept of fairness itself is eroded. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Growth may be everything, but it’s not the only thing. Development & Growth
I view the [credit] ratings agencies as one of the key culprits. They were the party that performed the alchemy that converted the securities from F-rated to A-rated. The banks could not have done what they did without the complicity of the ratings agencies. Corruption
It does not make sense to privatise the military. Proponents of privatisation often argue that it encourages customer responsiveness... For the most part, those who interact with military contractors do not do so voluntarily; there is no market where they can choose to be integrated by a contractor from the United States, or by some other provider. Indeed, the incentives are perverse. The incentives of the contractor are to minimise his costs, and those incentives do not take into account the nation’s broad range of public objectives … the Government becomes so dependent on their [contractors] services that it’s almost impossible to get rid of them Business, Commerce & Finance
It is unconscionable that a rich country like the United States has made access to higher education so difficult for those at the bottom and middle. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Markets don’t always self-correct fast enough. Until they do there is an immense amount of damage that has been done which is why we need government intervention. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Most poor people earn more than minimum wage when they are working; their problem is not low wages. The problem comes when they are not working. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
No rules will be strong enough to prevent every abuse, yet good, strong regulations can stop the worst of it. Regulation & Deregulation
Of the 1 Percent. By the 1 Percent. For the 1 Percent. Equality & Equal Opportunity
One big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent wants it that way. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Richer people tend to be happier than poor people, and people in poor countries tend to be less happy than people in rich countries. Poverty
Some policies may promote growth in ways that will increase poverty; others may promote growth in ways that will reduce it. Some growth strategies may be good for the environment; others may not be. Development & Growth
The art of politics is to design a solution that feels painless to all. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The fall of Wall Street is for market fundamentalism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for communism. Business, Commerce & Finance
The gap between aspiration and reality could hardly be wider. Today, the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. Study after study has exposed the myth that America is a land of opportunity. This is especially tragic: While Americans may differ on the desirability of equality of outcomes, there is near-universal consensus that inequality of opportunity is indefensible. Equality & Equal Opportunity
The market economy does not automatically guarantee growth, social justice, or even economic efficiency; achieving those ends requires that government play an important role. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The poor economic health of Europe contributed to the migrant crisis. All the migrants wanted to flood to the few healthy countries—–like Germany and the U.K. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The rich don’t need to rely on government … -- they can buy … things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may have once had. They also worry about strong government: one that could use its powers to … take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. Equality & Equal Opportunity
The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late. Equality & Equal Opportunity
The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to redistribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The upwardly mobile American is becoming a statistical oddity.. Equality & Equal Opportunity
There are good reasons why plutocrats should care about inequality anyway—even if they’re thinking only about themselves. The rich do not exist in a vacuum. They need a functioning society around them to sustain their position. Widely unequal societies do not function efficiently and their economies are neither stable nor sustainable. The evidence from history and from around the modern world is unequivocal: there comes a point when inequality spirals into economic dysfunction for the whole society, and when it does, even the rich pay a steep price. Equality & Equal Opportunity
There are plenty of ways countries may come together without having a single currency. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
They say that open markets are the solution to everything and, if left alone, the invisible hand will solve all problems. Sadly, the reason the invisible hand often appears invisible is that, quite often, it is not there. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Unfortunately … trust is becoming yet another casualty of our country’s staggering inequality: As the gap between Americans widens, the bonds that hold society together weaken. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Amherst is a liberal arts college, committed to providing students with a broad education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Amherst was pivotal in my broad intellectual development; MIT in my development as a professional economist.
As I noted in my Nobel lecture, an early insight in my work on the economics of information concerned the problem of appropriability - the difficulty that those who pay for information have in getting returns. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
But individuals and firms spend an enormous amount of resources acquiring information, which affects their beliefs; and actions of others too affect their beliefs.
But while I loved all of these courses, there was an irresistible attraction of economics.
Certainly, the poverty, the discrimination, the episodic unemployment could not but strike an inquiring youngster: why did these exist, and what could we do about them.
Economists often like startling theorems, results which seem to run counter to conventional wisdom.
I grew up in a family in which political issues were often discussed, and debated intensely. Families, Children & Parenting
I knew that discrimination existed, even though there were many individuals who were not prejudiced.
I recognized that information was, in many respects, like a public good, and it was this insight that made it clear to me that it was unlikely that the private market would provide efficient resource allocations whenever information was endogenous.
I think in part the reason is that seeing an economy that is, in many ways, quite different from the one grows up in, helps crystallize issues: in one's own environment, one takes too much for granted, without asking why things are the way they are.
I went to Amherst because my brother had gone there before me, and he went there because his guidance counselor thought that we would do better there than at a large university like Harvard.
I went to public schools, and while Gary was, like most American cities, racially segregated, it was at least socially integrated - a cross section of children from families of all walks of life. Life
I, like many members of my generation, was concerned with segregation and the repeated violation of civil rights.
If stability and efficiency required that there existed markets that extended infinitely far into the future - and these markets clearly did not exist - what assurance do we have of the stability and efficiency of the capitalist system? Future
In debate, one randomly was assigned to one side or the other. This had at least one virtue - it made one see that there was more than one side to these complex issues.
International lending banks need to focus on areas where private investment doesn't go, such as infrastructure projects, education and poverty relief. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Macroeconomic policy can never be devoid of politics: it involves fundamental trade-offs and affects different groups differently. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Much of my work in this period was concerned with exploring the logic of economic models, but also with attempting to reconcile the models with every day observation. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
My research in this period centered around growth, technical change, and income distribution, both how growth affected the distribution of income and how the distribution of income affected growth.
My teachers helped guide and motivate me; but the responsibility of learning was left with me, an approach to learning which was later reinforced by my experiences at Amherst. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The extra curricular activity in which I was most engaged - debating - helped shape my interests in public policy.
The notion that every well educated person would have a mastery of at least the basic elements of the humanities, sciences, and social sciences is a far cry from the specialized education that most students today receive, particularly in the research universities. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
There must have been something in the air of Gary that led one into economics: the first Nobel Prize winner, Paul Samuelson, was also from Gary, as were several other distinguished economists.