Freefall

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Freefall
No one can say they weren't warned. A decade ago, newly sacked from his job as chief economist at the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz laid bare how the free-market ideologues at the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund had botched the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. It was a full-on attack from a Washington insider and it hurt, especially when Stiglitz said many of those responsible for forcing countries such as Thailand and Indonesia into deeper, longer recessions were third-rate graduates from first-rate universities. He concluded his essay in the New Republic by warning the IMF and the US Treasury that unless they began a dialogue with their critics things will continue to go very, very wrong. Now they have. He concludes the book by asking: Will we seize the opportunity to restore our sense of balance between the market and the state, between individualism and the community, between man and nature, between means and ends? Faced with a similar set of circumstances in the 30s, the New Deal generation of Roosevelt proved ready to meet the challenge. Stiglitz clearly doubts whether Obama is made of the same stern stuff.
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