Thursday, July 07, 2011

Contra Stiglitz

For reasons I have never understood, Joe Stiglitz is widely considered to be an intellectual titan of the left on all matters economic. But if he's so gosh-darn smart, why does he offer up drivel such as this column in Slate:
Even in its heyday, from the early 1980s until 2007, American-style deregulated capitalism brought greater material well-being only to the very richest of the richest country of the world.
Oh really? Ahem:
  • Average square footage of a US home in 1970: 1,400 square feet. In 2009: 2,700 square feet.
  • Life expectancy at birth in 1980: 75.4. 1997: 76.5.
But nevermind the last 30 years -- just look at the ten year span from 1992-2002:

(Click to enlarge)

Sure looks like material improvement to me, and this doesn't even mention cell phones (which, BTW, are hugely egalitarian, with the rich and poor often owning the exact same devices). If Stiglitz is so intelligent, and the case against free markets so compelling, why must he engage in flat-out lies to make his point?

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