Everyone loves a winner

2 November 2001

The same man who called the World Bank’s approach to privatisation “bribarization” and publicly renounced the Washington consensus received passionate support from the World Bank’s President when he became a Nobel laureate. “I do want you to know that we love you,” Wolfensohn told the former World Bank Chief Economist Joe Stiglitz whom he fired two years earlier for his outspoken criticism of the IFIs. Stiglitz, invited back to his old institution to share his new fame, stressed “the important role for government” in regulating markets “particularly in developing countries [where] markets typically work much less well and information is much less perfect.” The theories that won him the Nobel Prize prove that financial markets aren’t the perfect vehicles assumed by many economists because they often work with incomplete or incorrect information. “The Nobel Prize … is recognizing a line of thought that has, I think, profound implications for how we think about the economy and the role of government,” Stiglitz said.

World Bank statement