Lackluster global coordination, relatively weak international responses to the worldwide financial crisis, persistent problems of over-capacity, and the likely decimation of peasant agriculture in countries with huge populations to feed are all factors largely overlooked by most economists and policymakers. Giving these issues short shrift could ultimately lead us into a double dip recession, warned a diverse panel of experts who spoke on March 25 at Columbia University. The occasion was a panel on "The Continuing Financial Crisis: perspectives from the North and the South" organized by Joe Stiglitz and his Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University.
What was refreshing about this panel was that it challenged the new orthodoxy that assumes an ascendant G20 will magically step up and forge agreement on stronger financial regulation as well as reach some modicum of understanding with major economies regarding how to sequence a careful unwinding of fiscal stimulus efforts, without letting the air out of the world's current fragile recovery.
The "North and South" perspectives were conveyed by World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin and two other outspoken Asian economists---Jomo Kwame Sundaram, UN Assistance Secretary General for Economic Development in UNDESA as well as Prabhat Patnaik, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Board of the Indian state of Kerala and professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Hearing the views of a Taiwan-born economist who studied at both Peking University as well as Chicago (Justin) along with those of an Indian Marxist-Leninist economist and political commentator (Patnaik), plus a prominent Malaysian economist who has a long track record of challenging standard thinking about the benefits of globalization (Sundaram) was a treat indeed.