Stiglitz' loose talk again

Peter Kilander peterk at
Wed Jul 1 19:11:09 PDT 1998

Henwood wrote:

>World Bank top economist Joseph Stiglitz seems to be taking issue with his
>colleagues again. Last January, it was reported that he was virtually
>locked in a closet by his superiors after he was quoted in the Wall Street
>Journal criticizing the IMF's programs for East Asia.

Has anyone read the New Yorker profile of the former World Bank top economist, Larry Summers? (I twitch in apprehension of being labeled a yuppie who's a leftist for all the wrong reasons for even mentioning that rag. I state for the record that I am not a professional) The article was written by staff writer for economics and finance, John Cassidy. He wrote a nice, lengthy piece on Marx not too long ago.

Anyway, Summers is the White House's point man on the Asian crisis. At the World Bank he gained notoriety for having signed an internal memo which read, in part, "The logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable." In Cassidy's piece, Summers attacks conservatives who are against IMF bailouts - for the reason of "moral hazard" - by saying it's more dangerous to let financial systems collapse. He warns, "I don't think Asia is inherently more stable now than Europe in the nineteen twenties." I sincerely wonder where this places him in the debate on the causes of the Great Depression. Anyone?

In the piece, Cassidy writes that the "flames" of the Asian crisis could potentially engulf China, Russia, and Japan - Japan comprising 70% of the Asian economy.

If the "contagion" does eventually spread (gasp) to Europe and the U.S., I'll be interested to read what capitalism's cheerleaders have to say.

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