Home News Economists Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty address converging crises of inequality

Economists Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty address converging crises of inequality


From left to right: the economists Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty as well as the journalist Sylvie Kauffmann.

On September 10, 2020, Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor and 2001 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, and Thomas Piketty, French economist and author, held a virtual transatlantic dialogue on some of the world's most pressing current issues: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, growing global Inequalities, threats to democracy and the upcoming US presidential election. The French journalist Sylvie Kauffmann von The world moderated the simulcast event, the streamed live in English and French.

In her opening speech, Kauffmann mentioned how the pandemic, major unrest in American cities, costly globalization and climate change intersect. She reminded us that there is a lot at stake not only for American voters, but also for the rest of the world.

U.S. and European Responses to the Economic Impact of COVID-19

When asked about his assessment of the Trump administration's response to the pandemic, Stiglitz said the U.S. was unprepared due to its lack of strong social protection and a universal health system. The coronavirus has highlighted pre-existing economic, health and racial inequalities in the country, he said, calling it the culmination of a forty-year attack on the government by Republicans.

Regarding Europe, Piketty said the situation was significantly better compared to the US. However, he pointed out that the EU did not take this opportunity to change the rules of the game as much as it should have been, citing how the EU's COVID-19 recovery agreement was less than three percent of the European one GDP.

Impact of the pandemic on globalization

Stiglitz replied that there are two sides: On the one hand, we see that we share a planet, just like with climate change, [since] we all benefit from global efforts to develop a vaccine. In that sense there was support for globalization and multilateralism. On the other hand, we realize that we have built an economic system that is not resilient. To illustrate his latter observation, he pointed to weak global supply chains that resulted in shortages in masks and ventilators.

Piketty then discussed some of the barriers that could prevent Europe from seizing the present moment to pursue a greener agenda. There is a great risk that we will make the same mistakes in monetary policy as we did in the global financial crisis in 2008. Policies that benefit the wealthy will only exacerbate existing environmental and social inequalities.

The upcoming US presidential election

When asked about Joe Biden's progressive economic program, Stiglitz noted that the entire country had moved in a more progressive direction and that the American dream was inaccessible to most.

Piketty said Europe was at stake with a normal partnership with the US in the presidential election amid the global health and climate crisis. This is important for Europe and the rest of the world.

The discussion was followed by a Q&A with viewers asking questions via social media. To watch the full webinar, visit French house . Related resources are available here and Here .

This event was co-hosted by Maison Fran├žaise, Columbia Global Centers | Paris and Le Monde Media Group as a foretaste of the first Festival du Monde NYC with Columbia Maison Francaise, scheduled for March 12th and 13th, 2021.

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