Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz looks at the impact of inequality on societies. In his latest book, The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future, he focuses on how inequality causes higher crime rates, health problems and mental illness, lower educational achievements, and reduced social cohesion and life expectancy.
Stiglitz will discuss how, left to their own devices, markets are neither efficient nor stable, and will tend to accumulate money in the hands of the few. He will also demonstrate how government policies and political institutions, far from countering these trends, often enhance them, and that politics frequently shapes markets in ways that advantage the richest over the rest. This in turn weakens democracy and the rule of law by putting more and more political power in the hands of the wealthy. Beyond these social and political costs, however, inequality has grave consequences for the economy. Moving money from the middle and bottom of society to the top-as has increasingly been happening-stifles entrepreneurship, produces slower growth and lower GDP, and also even destabilizes the economy.
Throughout the course of the evening, Stiglitz will illuminate how the growing inequality in America and many other countries is not only unfair, but also unwise. The talk will also strike a hopeful note, arguing that the current trends are in no way inevitable and he will put forth the concrete set of reforms that he proposes in his book, which would create an economy with less inequality and more growth and opportunity. These are vital issues for an election year in a country that is still struggling to get its battered economy back on track.
The presentation will be followed by a discussion between Joseph Stiglitz, Michael Cohen, director of the New School Graduate Program in International Affairs and Teresa Ghilarducci, Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Analysis and director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School, moderated by New School president David Van Zandt.
Michael Cohen (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Director of the International Affairs Program. He also works as Advisor to the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Design, and Urban Planning of the University of Buenos Aires.
Before coming to the New School in 2001, he was a Visiting Fellow of the International Center for Advanced Studies at New York University.
Teresa Ghilarducci is the Irene and Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research. Her 2008 book, When I'm Sixty-four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them (Princeton University Press) investigates how to restore the promise of retirement for all Americans. Her book, Labor's Capital: The Economics and Politics of Employer Pensions (MIT Press) won an Association of American Publishers award in 1992. She co-authored Portable Pension Plans for Casual Labor Markets in 1995.
Ghilarducci publishes in referred journals and testifies frequently before Congress. She is the WURF fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and serves as a public trustee for the Health Care VEBAs for UAW Retirees of General Motors and for the USW retirees for Goodyear and served on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's Advisory Board from 1996-2001, and on the Board of Trustees of the State of Indiana Public Employees' Retirement Fund from 1996-2002.
Her research has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, US Department of Labor, the Ford Foundation, and the Retirement Research Foundation.
Joseph E. Stiglitz
Joseph E. Stiglitz was born in Gary, Indiana in 1943. A graduate of Amherst College, he received his PHD from MIT in 1967, became a full professor at Yale in 1970, and in 1979 was awarded the John Bates Clark Award, given biennially by the American Economic Association to the economist under 40 who has made the most significant contribution to the field. He has taught at Princeton, Stanford, MIT and was the Drummond Professor and a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is now University Professor at Columbia University in New York and Chair of Columbia University's Committee on Global Thought. He is also the co-founder and Executive Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia. In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for his analyses of markets with asymmetric information, and he was a lead author of the 1995 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Stiglitz was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1993-95, during the Clinton administration, and served as CEA chairman from 1995-97. He then became Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank from 1997-2000. In 2008 he was asked by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy to chair the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, which released its final report in September 2009. In 2009 he was appointed by the President of the United Nations General Assembly as chair of the Commission of Experts on Reform of the International Financial and Monetary System, which also released its report in September 2009.
Stiglitz holds a part-time appointment at the University of Manchester as Chair of the Management Board and Director of Graduate Summer Programs at the Brooks World Poverty Institute. He serves on numerous other boards, including Amherst College's Board of Trustees and Resources for the Future.
Stiglitz helped create a new branch of economics, "The Economics of Information," exploring the consequences of information asymmetries and pioneering such pivotal concepts as adverse selection and moral hazard, which have now become standard tools not only of theorists, but of policy analysts. He has made major contributions to macro-economics and monetary theory, to development economics and trade theory, to public and corporate finance, to the theories of industrial organization and rural organization, and to the theories of welfare economics and of income and wealth distribution. In the 1980s, he helped revive interest in the economics of R&D.
His work has helped explain the circumstances in which markets do not work well, and how selective government intervention can improve their performance.
Recognized around the world as a leading economic educator, he has written textbooks that have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He founded one of the leading economics journals, The Journal of Economic Perspectives. His book Globalization and Its Discontents (W.W. Norton June 2001) has been translated into 35 languages, besides at least two pirated editions, and in the non-pirated editions has sold more than one million copies worldwide. Other recent books include The Roaring Nineties (W.W. Norton); Towards a New Paradigm in Monetary Economics (Cambridge University Press) with Bruce Greenwald; Fair Trade for All (Oxford University Press), with Andrew Charlton; Making Globalization Work, (W.W. Norton and Penguin/ Allen Lane, 2006); and The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, (W.W. Norton and Penguin/ Allen Lane, 2008), with Linda Bilmes of Harvard University. His newest book, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy, was published in January 2010 by WW Norton and Penguin/ Allen Lane.
Dr. David E. Van Zandt
Dr. David E. Van Zandt has been the President at The New School since January 1, 2011. Dr. Van Zandt is Dean of Northwestern University's School of Law and specializes in corporate law and international finance. Prior to becoming Dean in 1995, Mr. Van Zandt held various academic positions within the law school, including Professor of Law, since 1985. Earlier in his career, Mr. Van Zandt served as a law clerk to the Honorable Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court, and was an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. During his tenure at Northwestern, he created the largest JD-MBA program in the country, raised the school's public profile, influenced annual giving, which nearly doubled, and forged numerous cross-cultural relationships with students and legal institutions internationally. Under his leadership, Northwestern became the most diverse top-tier law school in the U.S. Dr. Van Zandt takes the helm of a university poised to continue on a trajectory of growth. Over the last ten years, The New School has doubled the number of full-time faculty, extended tenure across academic divisions, dramatically increased the number of students enrolled in degree-granting programs, and improved campus governance. The university's financial affairs are also in excellent shape, with balanced budgets and solid growth in endowment, even during uncertain economic times. He has been a Director of AMR Research, Inc. since 1998. Dr. Van Zandt is a sociologist and received his PhD from the London School of Economics. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was managing editor of the Yale Law Journal. He has served as a law clerk to both Judge Pierre N. Leval of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City, and to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Prior to entering the academy in 1985, Dr. Van Zandt was an attorney with the New York office of Davis Polk & Wardwell.