‘Pandemic Economics: Charting the Recovery’ symposium slated
Conversations on the Green in Washington will present its next virtual symposium, “Pandemic Economics: Charting the Recovery,” Sept. 20 at 3 p.m.
Two Nobel laureates in economics will be featured, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, along with businessman Danny Meyer, a restauranteur.
The first time the three giants have ever debated, they will discuss how to repair the economy amidst the worst economic crisis in almost a century and the once in a generation shift now underway in economic thinking.
As part of the symposium, they also will examine how to exploit the ongoing calamity and contain the risks in an effort to launch an era of prosperity like those that followed the Great Depression and World War II.
A columnist for The Times, Krugman is arguably the most controversial of the three and was called “belligerently, obsessively political” in a 2010 New Yorker profile.
But that’s a recent addendum to his personality. In his earlier academic work, Krugman focused on subjects with little partisan salience and essentially ignored politics, even when while working for a year as a senior staffer on President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors.
He won a 2008 Nobel for work in economic geography, theories explaining urbanization, international trade and the location of jobs and businesses.
“I feel now like I was sleepwalking through the 20 years before 2000,” he told The New Yorker.
But he was radicalized by the 2000 campaign. Although the mandate for his column, which he started the previous year, was financial affairs, his perch at the paper of record led him to broaden his view.
He was shocked when he perceived the Bush campaign lying and, after the election, began attacking the president. As his outrage escalated, his disapproval grew venomous.
The author of 27 books and more than 200 scholarly articles, Krugman also is a professor of economics at the Graduate Center of the City University. He previously was a professor of economics at MIT and, later, at Princeton, from which he retired in 2015.
Named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people 10 years ago by Time, Stiglitz was the chair of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1995 to 1997 and served as the World Bank’s chief economist until he was fired for criticizing its priorities.
He also was the lead author of the 1995 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Although he has spent much of his career at the intersection of economics and public policy, Stiglitz's early recognition came for his research on screening, techniques used by one party to extract otherwise private information from another.
He won his Economics Nobel in 2001 for his contribution to the theory of information asymmetry, the seemingly esoteric study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other, studies that Krugman relied on to win his Nobel.
But Stiglitz’s ideas found countless applications and helped create a new branch of economics, "The Economics of Information." It explores the consequences of information asymmetries and pioneers pivotal concepts such as adverse selection and moral hazard, which have now become standard tools not only of theorists but also of policy analysts.
He has made major contributions to theories on macroeconomics and monetary policy, development economics and trade, public and corporate finance, industrial and rural organization, and the economics of welfare and wealth distribution.
His work has helped explain the circumstances in which markets are not optimized and how selective government intervention can improve them. In recent years he has written a series of popular books that have had an influence in shaping global policy debates and has earned more than 40 honorary doctorates.
In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Loeb Prize for his contributions to journalism and his books have won the European Literary Prize, the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Political Books and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.
Although a senior advisor to several Democratic administrations, Stiglitz, a Columbia University professor, has been an equal opportunity critic, inveighing against both Democratic and Republican administrations.
He critiqued the architects of President Obama’s financial rescue package as “either in the pocket of the banks or incompetent” and, four years ago, described President Trump’s proposals to slash taxes while increasing government spending as a gift to Wall Street and akin to “Vodoo economics.”
Considered “dangerously charming,” Meyers, one of the country’s leading restaurateurs, began his career as a political junkie and planned on becoming a lawyer.
But he turned to hospitality and is the founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, which owned and operated many of New York’s most beloved and successful restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, The Modern, Maialino at the Gramercy Park Hotel and Untitled at the Whitney Museum, North End Grill, Marta, Vini e Fritti, and Porchlight, among others.
He won the Julia Child Award three years ago and his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards.
Meyer opened his first restaurant, The Union Square Café, in 1985, at the age of 27.
A fixture in the city for creating restaurants with an ambience of comfort, he became a national celebrity with the 2004 opening of the Shake Shack. It started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park--part of a community art project to support the park.
An immediate hit, he received a permit to open a permanent kiosk there. He expanded the menu and introduced a fast food concept that adhered to his rules of excellence--the hamburger meat was from the same butcher who supplied some of Meyer’s high-end restaurants.
Named as one of the most influential people in the World by Time in 2015, Meyer in the first days of the pandemic closed 19 restaurants and laid off 2,000 employees. He garnered the wrath of the Twitterverse after the burger chain received a $10 million small-business government loan but was widely heralded when he became one of the first to return the money
A philanthropist, he is a national leader in the fight against hunger, serves on the board of Share Our Strength and has long supported hunger relief initiatives, including City Harvest and God’s Love We Deliver.
Moderated by former NBC correspondent and national talk show host Jane Whitney, the interactive symposium will run for 90 minutes.
Tickets can be purchased at www.conversationsonthegreen.com.