Thought Leader: Alan S. Blinder

Alan Blinder is professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and vice chairman of Promontory Interfinancial Network, a financial services firm.

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Alan S. Blinder on

THE BIG QUESTIONS

  • WHAT’S DISTINCT distinct

    The emergence or the joining-in to the economic world over the recent decade and a half of a lot of people that really weren't part of it. I'm talking about China, I'm talking about India, and I'm talking about the former Soviet Union.

  • CHALLENGES challenges

    The alleviation of poverty or, more generally, the reduction of inequality. In the United States, for more than 30 years now, with a few little breaks, we have been moving towards a more unequal society. That's point one: the level of disparities. Point two, which may be more important, is that these disparities are growing. The third aspect, which I find also very troubling, is that what used to be true about intergenerational mobility is not true anymore.

  • GLOBAL ETHICS ethics

    I think people largely value freedom, even the ones that don't have it. In fact, probably the ones that don't have it value it more. I think that is pretty much global, with some exceptions. Of course, a lot of governments are exceptions that are trying to stop it from happening.

  • LEADERSHIP leadership

    Leadership starts with a vision, a notion of where you want to lead. Secondly, you have to have some pragmatism—and this in many cases means political pragmatism. Thirdly, you need to have communications skills and a little bit of charisma. It's a combination of attributes that not so many people have. But, fortunately, we don't need that many. We need a lot more sensible followers than we need leaders.

  • FUTURE future

    I would like to see us and the whole world get serious about climate change. This planet may be a much worse place to inhabit 100 years from now if we don't start taking serious action.