‘The problem isn’t that we’ve been slaves to free markets’: Joseph Stiglitz interview

The left’s favourite economist on setting capitalism free

‘How do you feel when you go back to Gary?’ I ask Joe Stiglitz. ‘Well, frankly, I get depressed,’ he replies. ‘The American middle class was created in places like my home town and is now struggling badly — which makes me sad.’

Stiglitz, a Nobel prize-winning economist and the closest thing the left has to an intellectual superstar, grew up in Gary, Indiana, during the 1950s, when it was the heart of the booming US steel industry. His father sold insurance and his mother was a teacher. ‘We had a modest detached brick house, with a lawn all around — it was safe and secure,’ he recalls. ‘Back then, if you worked hard and played by the rules in America, you’d make it — you could get ahead.’

Gary’s steel mills closed in the 1970s and thousands of skilled workers were laid off; the population has since halved, and Stiglitz says parts of his old neighbourhood ‘look like a war zone’. Countless cities have suffered the same fate, he says. ‘Gary is emblematic of the American Dream and that dream no longer exists.’

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    When I read stuff like “the left’s favorite economist” I don’t want to read any further because I’m pretty sure he’s just going to be spouting made up nonsense.

  • Hard Little Machine

    6 of the 10 largest contributors to democratic politicians are labor unions.

  • “Slaves to free markets”? What a fool.

    Like it or not “free markets” are slaves the whims of “free consumers”.

    “Free consumers” do what they want. And markets that do not meet the wants of “free consumers” perish – as long as the government does not get involved.

  • MRHapla

    Thanks ‘Diversity”, you too “Social Justice”