The Year of Joseph Stiglitz, From New York to Paris

The Nobel laureate is spending the fall semester as the Alliance Visiting Professor at Sciences Po.

Emmanuel Kattan
December 03, 2019

University Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz has had a busy year. He’s traveled around the world talking about progressive economics, the new era of globalization and the impact of technology on social and political realities. He wrote a highly praised book, People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent and co-authored Measuring What Counts: The Global Movement for Well-Being. He also wrote countless opinion pieces  for Project Syndicate and other news platforms on topics ranging from the state of inequality and the wealth gap to trade policy, labor rights and the environment.

"I'm thrilled to be working with my French colleagues at Sciences Po studying pressing international phenomena such as the adverse effects of globalization, the consequences of technological advances, the sources of growing inequalities, and what can be done about it," said the Nobel laureate on his work at France’s leading school of social sciences.

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz gave two lectures on inequality and climate change economics at École Polytechnique.

Based in Paris this fall through the Alliance Program—a partnership between Sciences Po, Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, École Polytechnique and Columbia—Stiglitz held a public seminar at the Center for International Studies on multiculturalism and debated Professor Philippe Sands, QC, about investor-state arbitration and challenges to legitimacy and effectiveness from economic, legal and human perspectives. In November, Stiglitz received three Doctor Honoris Causa degrees from Sciences Po where he was honored at a special ceremony by Frédéric Mion, president of Sciences Po; the École Normale Supérieure of Lyon; and Politecnico di Torino.

"If we want to put people first, we have to know what matters to them, what improves their well-being, and how we can supply more of whatever that is." —Joseph E. Stiglitz

While in Paris, Stiglitz engaged the public wherever he went and reiterated the main tenets of his book People, Power, Profits, released in a French-language edition on Sept. 26, with a book party at FNAC, the largest French bookstore chain.

“We need a progressive capitalism which exploits the benefits of markets while taming their excesses,” Stiglitz said at the event. 

Stiglitz wants to save capitalism from itself, he said, adding that “markets cannot solve the problems they created. Markets created pollution. They generated an economic system which exploits our planet’s resources unsustainably. Markets created inequalities, discrimination, exploitation of the poor.” Stiglitz argued instead for a progressive capitalism that “reduces inequalities, invests in health and education, regulates the financial sector, and limits the adverse effects of globalization.”

Other institutions also benefited from Stiglitz’s presence in Paris. He gave masterclasses on climate change economics and inequality at the École Polytechnique and a conference on financial transaction tax at Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. He also took part in a public seminar on “The Social Determination of Behavior” at the Paris School of Economics.