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<nettime> stiglitz is not the second digest [geer, hart]
nettime's_toolbox_repairshop on Mon, 8 Jul 2002 19:40:42 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> stiglitz is not the second digest [geer, hart]


Re: <nettime> Stiglitz is not the Answer
     Benjamin Geer <ben {AT} beroul.uklinux.net>
     Keith Hart <HART_KEITH {AT} compuserve.com>

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From: Benjamin Geer <ben {AT} beroul.uklinux.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Stiglitz is not the Answer
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002 10:43:30 +0100

On Sunday 07 July 2002 11:12 am, Soenke Zehle wrote:
> The glue of anti-neoliberalism will not hold much longer.

You may be right.  But there are still a lot of people who don't even know 
what `neoliberalism' means.

In Europe, I think we're in danger of seeing the `movement' become something 
like literary criticism, with public meetings and social forums playing the 
role of academic symposiums: opportunities to chat with people who have read 
the same books that you've read, and can talk using the same jargon.  I 
really do think that Pierre Bourdieu's political analyses are better than 
those of the tabloid newspapers, just as I think that the novels of Proust 
are better than those of John Grisham.  But (in the UK at least) most 
people's political horizons are limited to what they read in the tabloids, 
just as most people's experience of fiction is confined to the work of 
Grisham and the like.

I'd bet that most of the people who sit next to me on London public transport 
don't even have the conceptual tools needed to understand the problems of 
this movement, because the concepts used in this movement haven't reached 
them at all.  And that's a pity, because it's not the case in other parts of 
the world.  The Landless Peoples' Movement in Brazil seems to be very 
well-integrated with its constituency, the rural poor 
(http://www.newleftreview.net/NLR24904.shtml).

It would be a pity if the European political avant-garde fragmented without 
leaving any useful impression on the majority of people.

Ben


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Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002 07:16:23 -0400
From: Keith Hart <HART_KEITH {AT} compuserve.com>
Subject: <nettime> Stiglitz is not the Answer

The defrocked Pope

For some time, I have thought of the World Bank as a city-state cum church
along the lines of the Vatican in the high middle ages. It might be corrupt
window-dressing for an unequal society, but it does have to purvey the
Christian message at some level. The World Bank is the Bretton-Woods
institution with a remit to do something about global poverty. Economics is
its Latin, an inscrutable jargon used to pacify an uncomprehending laity.
The division between  Holy Roman Emperor and Pope, between politician and
priest, might be replicated within the Bank as the President and the Chief
Economist.

Stiglitz was Chief Economist at the Bank. He got his Nobel Prize as the
third of a trio who set about showing that most people didnt know what they
were doing in a market economy. The first two chose agriculture and
insurance as examples, but Stiglitz did it for banking. Radical for the
chief priest of the World Bank, eh? The bankers throw their money around
like blind men. But then he went doctrinally upmarket -- he claimed that
the Bank was not helping the poor (shock! horror!) and resigned. Well, this
is a perfect pitch for the New York media circuit and he is now a talk show
celebrity, with his book and all.

There are some scurrilous lefties who argue that Stiglitz's critique of
capitalism is rather shallow. He thinks the market could be cleaned up if
people has better information. Read: Christianity would work if the message
were put across more effectively. But it is not trivial when a Pope
defrocks himself and starts knocking the church. At the very least, it
should not be enough to slag him off because he is not one of us. He
represents an opportunity and there are more than one ways of playing it.

Keith Hart

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