Context : AntiAmericanism

JosephStiglitz :,6761,1049437,00.html

Meanwhile, we maintained stiff trade barriers of our own on behalf of US agribusiness, thereby denying our market to the farmers of the third world. To a country fallen on hard times and having trouble paying its debts, our standard advice was to slash spending - even though we had routinely relied on deficit spending to get us out of economic downturns.

These were not the only examples of what struck those abroad as blatant hypocrisy. Even in the budget balancing nineties, we maintained robust trade deficits - over a billion dollars a day - even as we preached to others that they should keep their trade deficits down; evidently, it was understandable if the rich could not live within their means; what was not to be forgiven was for the poor to do so. We scolded the developing nations about their disrespect for intellectual-property laws that we, too, had scorned in our days as a developing nation.


Especially strange was the contrast between the Clinton administration's palliatives abroad and its battles at home. There, we defended our public social security against privatisation, lauding its low transactions costs, the income security it provided, how it had virtually eliminated poverty among the elderly. Abroad, we pushed privatisation. At home, we argued strongly that the Federal Reserve should keep a focus on growth and unemployment, as well as inflation - with a president elected on a jobs platform we could do nothing less. Abroad, we urged central banks to focus exclusively on inflation.

One of America's great glories had been the growth of its middle class. Still, we almost completely ignored the equity implications of policies we urged on other nations - and the increasingly inescapable fact that globalisation, as it was actually practised, tended to make poor societies more rather than less unequal.

Another example of US self-delusion pointed out by ChrisDillow ( ) ) :

There’s a parallel here to a curious fact pointed out by Raghuram Rajan - that 71% of Americans think the poor have a good chance of escaping poverty, whilst only 40% of European do - despite the fact that social mobility is lower in the US than in much of Europe.