Jack Worthington's Social & Investment Commentaries

Eurozone implosion; TPP insanity; or, the Emperor wears no clothes

Posted in Investment & Social Commentaries by Jack Worthington on August 10, 2016

Today’s news revealed that Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz declares in his upcoming book that the Eurozone was flawed at birth and is destined to collapse unless huge changes are made.

 

Joseph Stiglitz is one of the world’s pre-eminent economists and a professor of economics at Columbia University since 2001.  Robert Mundell is another Nobel prize-winner and Columbia University economics professor since 1974.  Per Wikipedia, “Mundell is known as the “father” of the Euro, as he laid the groundwork for its introduction through his work…”.  Did Stiglitz voice his concerns to Mundell while they worked together at Columbia?  Somehow I doubt it…it would have been bold for a peer to risk career and criticize a Nobel prize-winner.  Conversely, as a Columbia MBA student with relatively little to lose, I did voice my concerns regarding the viability of a Eurozone in light of Mundell’s work on “optimal currency areas”…rather aggressively…and my Europhile Irish econ professor hammered me on my final exam essay for it.  24 years later, after major economic and societal damage is done and the non-viability of the Eurozone is plain for most everyone to see, with little career risk for stating the obvious and an economic implosion in sight, Joseph Stiglitz enters the scene with his “earth-shattering” pronouncement that the emperor wears no clothes.

 

What we can learn?

 

  1. Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale and its message are a timeless insight into the true, non-idealized nature of human beings. It didn’t take intellectual brilliance for the little boy to state “The emperor wears no clothes!”, just naïve honesty…which few humans are capable of.  Beware groupthink.  Question authority often.  Put ego on the line and ask more questions.  To assume makes an ASS out of U and ME.  Few people like the details…which is where outstanding opportunities are often found, and calamities avoided.  Courage is much rarer that any of us care to admit.
  2. I’m old enough to have lived through countless iterations of the above scenario in business and life in general. Obamacare?  No telling what the TPP is really about or actually does in its fine print and details…I doubt there is one human being on planet earth who actually does…yet, like disastrous Obamacare, proponents aggressively try to shove it down our throats prior to even their own full understanding.  Time to stand athwart TPP and yell, Stop!!…until politicians, academics, media, and the broad public fully understand what’s in it and debates.

 

JW

NY, NY

10 Aug 2016