Friday, September 21, 2012

Joseph Stiglitz Calls to Abolish the Capitalist Church of Self-Interest


“Every society grapples with moral issues,” said Johnson as he introduced Stiglitz. “And Joe might be our ‘Grappler-in-Chief.’”

The Grappler-in-Chief got interested in economics not because he was dazzled by mathematical equations, but because he wanted to find a way to solve the sociological problems he saw growing up in Gary, Indiana, where he noticed that discrimination stood in the way of America’s ideal of equal opportunity for all. His parents told him that the two most important things in life were to use your mind and see what you could do to serve others. And so he did both.

Lately Stiglitz has focused on the alarming gap in the U.S. between those at the top and everyone else, an interest which led to a prescient Vanity Fair article on the dominance of the 1 percent in May 2011, and most recently to a new book, The Price of Inequality. Commenting on Mitt Romney’s declaration that 47 percent of the nation was nothing more than freeloaders, Stiglitz said, “the real divide is between those who see the country as a community and those who don’t.”

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