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Not poles apart: “Whither reform?” and “Whence reform?”


  • Joseph Stiglitz
  • David Ellerman


Tis only as the shades of night are falling that the Owl of Minerva spreads her mighty wings and takes to flight. (Hegel) The paper “Whence Reform?” by the Polish economists Marek Dabrowski, Stanislaw Gomulka, and Jacek Rostowski (DGR) is a welcome and revealing commentary on what is called the “Stiglitz Perspective.”1 Our main response is gratitude at DGR's agreement with the main theses of “Whither Reform!” such as the critiques of voucher privatization and of the attempts to quickly install institutional reforms involving long agency chains. Our positions are not poles apart. We say: “With 'critics' like these, who needs supporters?” It is nevertheless clear that DGR have worked hard to either discover or imagine disagreements and “mistakes” in the “Stiglitz perspective” that will help preserve their good standing in the fraternity of neoliberal reformers. We appreciate the exigencies of maintaining reputational capital so we will cross swords in some of the side scrimmages even though the main battle seems to be over. While we will not contest every real or imagined disagreement, we do think that identifying some of the major areas of agreement and disagreement may be useful in helping shape appropriate policies for the countries in transition going forward.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Stiglitz & David Ellerman, 2001. "Not poles apart: “Whither reform?” and “Whence reform?”," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(4), pages 325-338.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jpolrf:v:4:y:2001:i:4:p:325-338
    DOI: 10.1080/13841280108523424

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    Cited by:

    1. Scott Burd & Carolyn Currie, 2004. "Partnering with the Private Sector to Introduce New Physical, Human, and Social Capital - Isolating Criteria for Success," Working Paper Series 133, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
    2. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2016. "The state, the market, and development," WIDER Working Paper Series 001, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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