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The wheel of fortuneGlobalisation and Its Discontentsby Joseph Stiglitz304pp Allen LaneUp the Down Escalator Why the Global Pessimists Are Wrongby Charles Leadbeater384pp VikingThe rise and fall of Joseph Stiglitz is one of the telling parables of our age One of the worlds great economists - he won the Nobel Prize in 2001 for his elegant demonstrations that markets necessarily work imperfectly on any reasonable assumption that market participants are not all knowledgeable - he is also not afraid to get his hands dirty in the world of policy-makingPresident Clinton made him chair of his Council of Economic Advisers but not before he had given some wise advice to the Chinese about how to go about liberalising their economy China unlike Russia which took a more overtly free-market path has been chalking up double-digit growth rates ever sinceThe development of the worlds poorest countries was always closest to Stiglitzs heart so when James Wolfensohn the president of the World Bank offered him the job as its chief economist in 1997 - as part of an attempt to carve out a different approach to third-world development - he jumped at the chanceWolfensohn wanted to create a more rounded approach - stressing the role of education particularly of women disease prevention and good governance in the development process - rather than the so-called Washington consensus of simply privatising deregulating and instantaneously opening up fragile economies to free trade and free finance Stiglitz seemed to be the man with the intellectual authority and connections within the Clinton administration to help himBut it didnt work out like that Stiglitz arrived at the bank as the US was moving into what we now know was a phoney boom but which had made the conservative economic intellectuals who claimed authorship of it extraordinarily hubristic Their market-fundamentalist ideas they supposed were wholly right and they insisted on them being implemented internationally through what had become an arm of the US treasury - the
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