Rebel with a Cause


| July 22, 2002


Rebel with a Cause, Eyal Press, The Nation
Joseph Stiglitz thinks the IMF is undemocratic, secretive, and ineffective. How does he know? He used to be senior vice-president and chief economist at the World Bank -- until his outspoken criticism led to his resignation. Even so, the Columbia University economist and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics has not stopped talking. He lectures to packed audiences, advises leaders of developing countries, runs the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (he hopes to end the World Bank and IMF's 50-year monopoly on development policy), and recently authored Globalization and Its Discontents (Norton). Stiglitz, according to one colleague, 'has done more to damage the IMF's reputation than any other living economist,' but he is only one of a growing number of economists, sociologists, and political scientists who warn that critiques of the World Bank and IMF need to be taken seriously. Though Stiglitz believes the institutions should be reformed rather than eliminated, he does propose that growth should not be the sole measure of success, and that 'rather than prescribe solutions [to Third World countries], economists should emphasize choices, underscoring the risks and trade-offs of pursuing various alternatives.'
--Rebecca Wienbar
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