When it was first published, this national bestseller quickly became a touchstone in the globalization debate. Renowned economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz had a ringside seat for most of the major economic events of the last decade, including stints as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and chief economist at the World Bank. Particularly concerned with the plight of the developing nations, he became increasingly disillusioned as he saw the International Monetary Fund and other major institutions put the interests of Wall Street and the financial community ahead of the poorer nations. Those seeking to understand why globalization has engendered the hostility of protesters in Seattle and Genoa will find the reasons here. While this book includes no simple formula on how to make globalization work, Stiglitz provides a reform agenda that will provoke debate for years to come. Rarely do we get such an insider's analysis of the major institutions of globalization as in this penetrating book. With a new foreword for this paperback edition.
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.
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.