Beppe Grillo’s new advisor?

by on March 5, 2013 at 7:31 am in Current Affairs, Economics | Permalink

It would appear to be Joseph Stiglitz (link is in French, or try this link in English), but do we know?  Here is Grillo discussing the situation in English (translated).  The link includes a dialogue between the two.  Yet here (in Italian) is already some discord between the two, with Stiglitz accusing Grillo of lying by claiming that his party’s platform is based on Stiglitz’s ideas.

I cannot be sure which of these links to believe in its entirety, but at the very least there is an ongoing exchange between these two men.

I wish to thank numerous sources on Twitter.

1 Bill March 5, 2013 at 8:24 am


If you go to the Italian website and translate it, you will find the following email correspondence:

From: Stiglitz, Joseph

Date: 21 February 2013 18:14

Subject: RE: Your alleged endorsement of the Italian Five Star Movement

To: Jaume Loffredo (ho tolto la mail per privacy)

Thanks. A lot of people attribute a lot of things to my husband but his writings speak for themselves and are available online as are his numerous talks. I doubt he if he has even mentioned the “Five Star movement” anywhere. Thanks, Anya”

In similar MR news, it was reported today through various Twitter Feeds that a George Mason Professor has served as the fettucine advisor to Berlusconi. Berlusconi has recently read his book on food economics, and has asked for his advice on where to eat in Rome.

To paraphrase this site, “I cannot be sure which of these links to believe in its entirety, but at the very least there is an ongoing exchange between these two men.”

2 Tyler Cowen March 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

Endorse vs. advise, you’ve got this all mixed up and are venting against a straw man.

3 Bill March 5, 2013 at 9:19 am

And, the EVIDENCE that Stiglitz is ADVISING is: (fill in the blank with evidence).

It is clear what is the strawman

4 Bill March 5, 2013 at 9:25 am

Oh, and please don’t link to the Grillo Blog of his interview of Stiglitz as evidence.

The comments indicate the interview was done in


What to do you have as evidence? Twitterfeeds?

5 Tyler Cowen March 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

Read the links or for that matter the post…The post itself says the level of engagement is uncertain and the title of the post is with a question mark and I link to the more critical Italian source.

6 Bill March 5, 2013 at 9:37 am

Does the wording you use: “The post itself says the level of engagement is uncertain” mean that there IS engagment, or that there isn’t?

If you write a reply to my comment, just as Stiglitz wrote a response to Grillo’s questions in 2007, can I say that Tyler has a “level of engagement” with Bill, but the level of engagement is “uncertain”?

If so, with these fine distinctions, I am prepared to offer you

an Honorary JD.

7 derek March 5, 2013 at 10:01 am

I’m curious what the fuss is. That Grillo is advised by Stiglitz! or that Stiglitz advised Grillo!

And for some gratuitous fun poking: I suspect that most here would be enamoured by the National Socialist’s economic policy in practice back in the ’30s. A friend, now gone, was a trained industrial tradesman, a young man unemployed, living at home. Within a week of the Nazi’s gaining power him and a good number of the million unemployed received notices telling them where to report for work. From economic stagnation and doldrums to a vibrant economy within a short time. I have posited that if Hitler had faced term limits and left power after 8 years he would have been hailed as a national hero and emulated world wide.

The problem is that you can’t get one side of that picture without the other.

8 Michael March 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm

The action you mention for the unemployed was set in motion by Herr Adolf’s predecessor.

9 Bill March 5, 2013 at 10:08 am

derek, You left out an alternative: that neither advised the other.

If you claim that responding to questions or otherwise commenting in a 2007 blog is advising, then I can say I advised Derek and Tyler.

I don’t see any evidence Stiglitz is “advising” Grillo.

10 as March 5, 2013 at 10:11 am

It appears Bill is right. At least the blog post on Grillo’s website is from 2007. So Stiglitz is definitely not his new advisor.

11 Tyler Cowen March 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

Again, read this link (or others): I do stress that the certainty of these accounts is open to question.

12 Bill March 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

When you are in a hole, do not dig deeper. Although, if you are inclined, please continue digging.

Now you link to an article that an economist who is a Grillo economic advisor wrote or is writing an article with Stiglitz, and that makes Stiglitz an advisor to Grillo.

Transitivity principal applied to economists. I guess this means you should be careful about whom your write econ papers with. You never know what Alex might be up to or whom he associates with.

As you said: “I do stress that the certainty of these accounts is open to question.”


13 Emanuele March 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Mauro Gallegati wrote a first version of the M5S economic program, even if he then said that they had not really followed his scheme and some points of the published program are not reasonable. In the same interview you can read Gallegati citing twice Stiglitz’s name, saying that some of those are his ideas or they are supported by him (in particular the role of a wealth tax for inequality and the need for a different computation of GDP). Gallegati is a known friend (and coauthor) of Stiglitz, and he supposedly asked for his advice while writing the document.

– I believe Gallegati asked Stiglitz for advice.
– Reading Gallegati’s program I also believe Stiglitz would not refuse any of the bullet points as his own: it is very similar to their recent joint papers on austerity. And they are coming out with a joint paper for an Italian newspaper, “Micromega”, that Gallegati described as “a guide for M5S”.
– Reading the final M5S program, I do not think that either Gallegati or Stiglitz would touch it with a 10 feet pole.

14 Bill March 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Emmanuele, I am citing your name twice in my reply, Emanuele, just as you said Galleghitte cited Stiglitz name twice in something he wrote, thereby creating that special concurrence you have for my thoughts. I value your friendship, just as Giggelhitte values Stiglitz’s. And, if you asked for my advice, I would give it to you.

Therefore, you are me and I am you. At least that is what your comment says.

15 Emanuele March 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Bill, that was not the point. You and I have not wrote anything together about any topic. You and I are not known friends. You and I are not writing an article together on this very issue. I have not actually wrote on this issue before and said the same things you are saying now. If that whose the case, a third person would not have any reason to refuse your claim if you declared such.
Similarly I do not have any reason to refuse Gallegati’s claim.

The main missing link is that Gallegati is now saying that the economic platform he wrote, with the advice of Stiglitz (a lunch chat? an afternoon long discussion? a review of the platform? “The level of engagement is uncertain”), has not being followed by Grillo. There are crazy parts in the program, and obviously Stiglitz is moving away from it.

PS: You haven’t cited my name twice, just once: my name is Emanuele. I think the fact you do not know how to spell my name puts a dent in your plan to pass the point we are the same person.

16 Bill March 5, 2013 at 2:09 pm

E, I hope you don’t really believe what you said logically infers your claims. The main missing link, as you call it, is still missing. Where is the evidence claimed in this post that Stiglitz’s is advising Grillo? That someone is a friend of someone else, read a book, wrote an article, or exchange Christmas cards doesn’t prove it either.

17 Barkley Rosser March 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I agree Emanuele. As a friend and coauthor of Mauro Gallegati myself, I think the first story Tyler posted lays it out. Mauro is the main adviser, and he is a friend and coauthor of Joe Stiglitz. Joe is only indirectly involved. To the extent anybody is putting Stiglitz forward as endorser or main adviser of Grillo, they are misguided. Mauro is the main man here, and I agree that probably Joe would not disagree with anything significantly in Mauro’s platform for Grillo.

BTW, for all his clownishness and anarchist nihilism, Grillo actually does have a background in accounting and economics.

18 Yancey Ward March 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Bill, once again proving his inability to actually read English. Here is the relevant part:

I cannot be sure which of these links to believe in its entirety, but at the very least there is an ongoing exchange between these two men.

Of course, one could even stop at the end of the blogpost title, and note the question mark.

19 Bill March 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm

An ongoing exchange? Note the question mark. Is this an unsupported blogpost? Note the question mark again.

20 Bill March 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Oh, and Yancey, it’s pretty hard to call comments on a 2007 blogpost an ongoing exchange between Grillo and Stiglitz, or the comment that “I doubt he if he has even mentioned the “Five Star movement” anywhere. Thanks, Anya”. as supporting the claim in the post, but maybe you can find it as a more astute reader.

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