Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz to speak on income inequality, Oct.19 at EJB

October 1, 2015

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics and University Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, will present the 2015 The Ruth Ellen Steinman and Edward J. Bloustein Memorial Lecture, “Economic Inequalities: The Great Divide,” on Monday, October 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Special Events Forum, Civic Square Building, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.

How has America become the most unequal advanced country in the world, and what can we do about it? In his recent book, The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them, Dr. Stiglitz argues that inequality is a choice — the cumulative result of unjust policies and misguided priorities. Irresponsible policies, including deregulation, tax cuts, and tax breaks for the 1 percent, are leaving many Americans farther and farther behind and turning the American dream into an ever more unachievable myth. Stiglitz urges us to embrace real solutions: increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy; offering more help to the children of the poor; investing in education, science, and infrastructure; helping out homeowners instead of banks; and most importantly, doing more to restore the economy to full employment. Ultimately, Stiglitz believes our choice is not between growth and fairness; with the right policies, we can choose both. His is a call to confront America’s economic inequality as the political and moral issue that it is. If we reinvest in people and pursue the other policies that he describes, America can live up to the shared dream of a more prosperous, more equal society.

A Senior Fellow and Chief Economist at the Roosevelt Institute, University Professor at Columbia University in New York, and chair of Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought, he is also the co-founder and executive director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia. In 2001, he won the Nobel Prize in economics for his analyses of markets with asymmetric information, and he was a lead author of the 1995 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Stiglitz was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1993-95, during the Clinton administration, and its chairman from 1995-97. He was chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank from 1997-2000. In 2008, he was appointed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to chair a Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Economic Progress.

Stiglitz helped create a new branch of economics, “The Economics of Information,” exploring the consequences of information asymmetries and pioneering concepts including adverse selection and moral hazard, which have now become standard tools of theorists and policy analysts. His work has helped explain the circumstances in which markets do not work well and how selective government intervention can improve their performance.

Suggested readings:

Book: The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them
Paper: National Tax Journal

The Ruth Ellen Steinman and Edward J. Bloustein Memorial Lecture was established to honor the memory of these two extraordinary individuals. For nearly 19 years, the Blousteins dedicated their enormous energies to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The fund was created in 1988 after Ruth Ellen died following a long and heroic battle with illness. Sadly, there was cause to broaden the purpose of the fund a year later when Edward Bloustein, Rutgers’ beloved president, died suddenly in December 1989. The endowment supports an annual lecture series that is intended to celebrate the values and interests Ruth Ellen and Ed cherished and cultivated throughout their lives, namely the preservation of animal species and the natural environment; the celebration of love, happiness, and laughter as tools of clinical medicine; and the exploration and promotion of humane values.

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