In this volume, leading economists, lawyers, and political scientists address the fundamental channels generated by this wealth and examine the major decisions a country must make when faced with an abundance of a natural resource. They identify such problems as asymmetric bargaining power, limited access to information, the failure to engage in long-term planning, weak institutional structures, and missing mechanisms of accountability. They also provide a series of solutions, including recommendations for contracting with oil companies and allocating revenue; guidelines for negotiators; models for optimal auctions; and strategies to strengthen state-society linkages and public accountability.
The contributors show that solutions to the resource curse do exist; yet, institutional innovations are necessary to align the incentives of key domestic and international actors, and this requires fundamental political changes and much greater levels of transparency than currently exist. It is becoming increasingly clear that past policies have not provided the benefits they promised. Escaping the Resource Curse lays out a path for radically improving the management of the world's natural resources.
Few are more qualified to comment during this turbulent time than Joseph E. Stiglitz. Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, Stiglitz is “an insanely great economist, in ways you can’t really appreciate unless you’re deep into the field” (Paul Krugman, New York Times). In Freefall, Stiglitz traces the origins of the Great Recession, eschewing easy answers and demolishing the contention that America needs more billion-dollar bailouts and free passes to those “too big to fail,” while also outlining the alternatives and revealing that even now there are choices ahead that can make a difference. The system is broken, and we can only fix it by examining the underlying theories that have led us into this new “bubble capitalism.”
Ranging across a host of topics that bear on the crisis, Stiglitz argues convincingly for a restoration of the balance between government and markets. America as a nation faces huge challenges—in health care, energy, the environment, education, and manufacturing—and Stiglitz penetratingly addresses each in light of the newly emerging global economic order. An ongoing war of ideas over the most effective type of capitalist system, as well as a rebalancing of global economic power, is shaping that order. The battle may finally give the lie to theories of a “rational” market or to the view that America’s global economic dominance is inevitable and unassailable.
For anyone watching with indignation while a reckless Wall Street destroyed homes, educations, and jobs; while the government took half-steps hoping for a “just-enough” recovery; and while bankers fell all over themselves claiming not to have seen what was coming, then sought government bailouts while resisting regulation that would make future crises less likely, Freefall offers a clear accounting of why so many Americans feel disillusioned today and how we can realize a prosperous economy and a moral society for the future.
Therefore, how countries learn and become more productive is key to understanding how they grow and develop, especially over the long term. In Creating a Learning Society, Joseph E. Stiglitz and Bruce C. Greenwald spell out the implications of this insight for both economic theory and policy. Taking as a starting point Kenneth J. Arrow's 1962 paper "Learning by Doing," they explain why the production of knowledge differs from that of other goods and why market economies alone are typically not efficient in the production and transmission of knowledge. Closing knowledge gaps, or helping laggards learn, is central to growth and development.
Combining technical economic analysis with accessible prose, Stiglitz and Greenwald provide new models of "endogenous growth," upending the received thinking about global policy and trade regimes. They show how well-designed government trade and industrial policies can help create a learning society; explain how poorly designed intellectual property regimes can retard learning; demonstrate how virtually every government policy has effects, both positive and negative, on learning; and they argue that policymakers need to be cognizant of these effects. They provocatively show why many standard policy prescriptions, especially associated with "neoliberal" doctrines focusing on static resource allocations, impede learning and explain why free trade may lead to stagnation, while broad based industrial protection and exchange rate interventions may bring benefits, not just to the industrial sector, but to the entire economy.
The volume concludes with brief commentaries from Philippe Aghion and Michael Woodford, as well as from Nobel Laureates Kenneth Arrow and Robert Solow.