Nobel Prize-winning economist from Gary publishes new book

Gary native Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, has published a new book that explores the idea of freedom.

“The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society” argues for a new definition of freedom and a more just economic system. The Columbia University professor and former chief economist at the World Bank, who Time magazine named one of the world’s most 100 influential people, has published several books over the course of his lengthy academic career.

The Horace Mann High School graduate explains in the book what freedom means from an economist’s perspective, what happens when freedoms conflict and what kind of economic system would deliver the most freedom to the largest number of people. 

“In seizing on the word ‘freedom’ in their declarations of what it means to be American, the ideological Right has neutered and narrowed the meaning of this important word,” Stiglitz argues, publisher W.W. Norton & Co. said in a new release. “It has been used to justify cutting taxes, creating ‘free markets,’ and otherwise freeing its followers from financial or moral obligations to anyone but themselves. This includes the proponents of the neoliberal model, which had dominated economic policy for the last forty years and, Stiglitz explains, has been a dismal failure — a staggering increase in inequality and a reduction in opportunity for the majority of Americans. These conceptions of freedom have had wide-reaching, harmful effects on the social fabric and prosperity of our nation.”

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Stiglitz writes in the book about the meaning of freedom in the 21st century, how political change is necessary to ensure economic freedom and how regulation can expand freedom for more people. He seeks to get people to understand freedom more as “a collective good rather than an individual privilege.”

“It’s critical, Stiglitz writes, that we begin crafting a broader conception of freedom,” W.W. Norton & Co. said in the news release. “This type of freedom is only attained when our country’s citizens have the freedom to live up to their potential, entailing the means and tools to get jobs with livable wages. A free society, and an economy that promotes it, entails choosing to create policies that support these very basic freedoms for everyone — instead of focusing on unbridled freedom for the wealthy few, with their freedom to exploit others.”

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