Economics in a Changed Universe: Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization, and the Death of "Free Enterprise"

Overview

A revolution in economics, politics, and international affairs has been shaped by the new economics of information. For the first time, we are able to look at our world through a lens illuminated by a much more precise understanding of how economies work and how individuals, groups, and corporations react to them. All of the disciplines of the social sciences are affected by this development but the greatest impact we can expect will be upon public policy-making. Joseph E. Stiglitz and his fellow Nobel ...
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Economics in a Changed Universe: Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization, and the Death of 'Free Enterprise'

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Overview

A revolution in economics, politics, and international affairs has been shaped by the new economics of information. For the first time, we are able to look at our world through a lens illuminated by a much more precise understanding of how economies work and how individuals, groups, and corporations react to them. All of the disciplines of the social sciences are affected by this development but the greatest impact we can expect will be upon public policy-making. Joseph E. Stiglitz and his fellow Nobel Prize-winners have demonstrated, with the precision and force of logic, reason, and mathematics, that the folklore of what has been regarded as "political economy" for the past two hundred and thirty years has misled us with ideological and mystical but useless ideas such as "free enterprise" and the immutability of market "givens." Houseman describes and demonstrates the new resonance, liveliness, and optimism which characterize the economics of information, calling upon his own experience with "Third World" issues and problems. He also looks at this new (but often ignored) economics as a challenge to the existing literature of the social sciences and to the practices and assumptions of policy-makers, interest groups such as environmentalists, labor, and multinational corporations, "think tanks," international organizations such as the IMF and World Bank, and political activists. Effectively arguing that the changed universe of economics requires any of us concerned with world affairs to re-think and adjust our assumptions, Houseman provides us with the necessary insight to apply this new paradigm to real-world problems.
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Editorial Reviews

James Headley
This is an important book. Anyone who notices a significant disconnect between the overblown rhetoric of big business and government and the reality that we face—like skyrocketing gasoline prices, the loss of middle class America, and increasing burdens on the poor—should read this book. Gerald Houseman clearly and concisely makes the case that Joseph Stiglitz is an important and prescient economist who champions the economics of information and exposed the term "Free Enterprise" as the fraud that justifies the great inequalities that exist in the world. If George Orwell's classic, 1984, troubled you, this book is for you. Houseman discusses the disturbing, Orwellian reality before us and leaves us asking ourselves: Will the great fraud of big business prevail or will truth and justice triumph?
Keith Quincy
Houseman breaks new ground, showing us that Nobel Prize-winner Joseph E. Stiglitz’s ideas reach beyond economics. Using Stiglitz’s insights, he explains why privatization and deregulation have failed and why free trade has impoverished developing nations. Lucky are we to have Houseman as our guide, as he leads us to the conclusion that the same asymmetry of information that makes markets fail also undermines democracy. Since Reagan, successive U.S. administrations have distorted the truth or kept it hidden from the public. Houseman reminds us that democracy cannot survive on spin.
June 2009 Journal Of Economic Literature
Explores the work of Joseph E. Stiglitz and how he and his colleagues heave helped create a breakthrough in economic theory and the study of globalization.
Notrida G. B. Mandica
Professor Joseph Stiglitz is well-respected in the world's less-developed nations, where we know him to be a friend. His insights and contributions need to be well-publicized because he has indeed revolutionized economics and our understanding of it. And Gerald Houseman has done us a great service not only by explaining the work of Stiglitz but by showing us its implications for the world.
June 2009 Journal of Economic Literature
Explores the work of Joseph E. Stiglitz and how he and his colleagues heave helped create a breakthrough in economic theory and the study of globalization.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739127148
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 5/29/2008
  • Pages: 174
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald L. Houseman is professor emeritus of political science at Indiana University, Fort Wayne.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Table of Contents Chapter 2 Preface Chapter 3 Introduction Chapter 4 1. A Notable Nobel Chapter 5 2. The Economics of Information: A Model of Scientific Performance and Promise Chapter 6 3. The Death of "Free Enterprise" and the Power of Information Economics Chapter 7 4. Globalization: The Pressing Economic Issue Chapter 8 5. Challenging the International Economic Order and the Panaceas of Privatization and Deregulation Chapter 9 6. Multinational Corporations: The Major Movers in the International Economy Chapter 10 Conclusion: Thinking and Working Within the New Universe of Economics Chapter 11 Notes Chapter 12 Appendix A: Landmarks in the Evolution of the Economics of Information Chapter 13 Appendix B: Research Contributions of George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Bruce C. N. Greenwald Chapter 14 Appendix C: Organizations Now Without Purpose as a Result of the Findings of the Economics of Information Chapter 15 Appendix D: The Altered Literature of Economics Within the Changed Universe Chapter 16 Bibliography Chapter 17 Index Chapter 18 About the Author
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Brilliant study of economic thinking

    Gerald Houseman, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Indiana University-Fort Wayne, has written a brilliant book on the changes created by Joseph Stiglitz's economics of information. He calls Stiglitz "the man who disproved the 'free enterprise' thesis." This book explains the death of this thesis; it studies globalisation, the failed panaceas of privatisation and deregulation, and the effects of multinational corporations.

    Stiglitz showed how "no two (or more) parties involved in a deal are ever equally informed about any business contract." He wrote, "My research on the economics of information showed that whenever information is imperfect, in particular where there are information asymmetries - where some individuals know something that others do not (in other words, always) - the reason that the invisible hand seems invisible is that it is not there." This asymmetry of information makes markets fail and undermines democracy.

    Stiglitz backs fair trade, trade managed in the national interest. He shows how the present system of asymmetrical, unfair trade impoverishes the developing nations.
    Houseman recounts how in 1999 Alan Greenspan 'saved' the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management Company by giving it $3.5 billion. Now in the same way, Gordon Brown has made us the taxpayers give failed bankers £1.3 trillion. Stiglitz said of Obama's similar gift, "Quite frankly, this amounts to robbery of the American people. I don't think it's going to work because I think there'll be a lot of anger about putting the losses so much on the shoulder of the American taxpayer."
    Stiglitz urges the need for land reform and writes, "short of revolution, there will be no major shifts in ownership." He is saying, truly enough, that revolution is necessary for progress. He has proved that inequality is bad for development and growth and shown how the rich are not a good source of capital investment because they take the wealth for themselves, rather than using it for the public good.

    He observes, "the question of who administers and allocates scarce capital resources is an all-important consideration that has a great deal to do with the question of who will benefit from policies and who will wield political as well as economic power." Private profit means public loss.

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