Prof James Reese recently interviewed Jagdish Bhagwati, listed as one of “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” on RadioEconomics.
“Questions include: Why did you become an economist and what type of economist would you call yourself? Do you consider yourself more of a free trade economist or a free market economist? How and why did you become so influential in international policy making over the past decades? Do we have a global warming problem? Does the United States have an immigration problem? Where do you see the world economy in twenty years? What economies will dominate and what will be the problems and challenges that will face us? Jagdish Bhagwati is a University Professor, Economics and Law, at Columbia University and Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations.”
Like innumerable others, my understanding of international trade theory is grounded in “Lectures on International Trade” by Jagdish N. Bhagwati and T.N. Srinivasan (MIT 1983). The most important thing I learnt was the distinction between “first-best” and “second-best” policies. I think the theory of the second-best has a wider applicability than just in the area of trade, and I view the world as a “second-best” world.
I think one of these days Bhagwati will win “the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in the Memory of Alfred Nobel.” In any event, when you have about 50 minutes to spare, listen to Bhagwati’s interview on RadioEconomics.