The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization


January 7, 2016, 12:00 AM EST
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
Steven R. Weisman (PIIE), Arthur C. Brooks (American Enterprise Institute) and Steven Rattner (Former Counselor to the Secretary of the US Treasury)

Event Summary

The Peterson Institute released its new book, The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization, on January 7, 2016. Author Steven R. Weisman, the Institute’s vice president for publications and communications, presented his analysis on the moral dilemmas facing a globalized and economically intertwined world. American Enterprise Institute (AEI) President Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); and Steven Rattner, former counselor to the secretary of the Treasury, joined Weisman as discussants.

The global financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 highlighted the profound moral concerns long surrounding globalization. In his book, Weisman addresses the questions whether materialist excess, doctrinaire embrace of free trade and capital flows, and indifference to economic injustice contributed to the disaster of the last decade, and whether it was ethical to bail out banks and governments. The Great Tradeoff blends economics, moral philosophy, history, and politics, and Weisman argues that the concepts of liberty, justice, virtue, and loyalty help to explain the passionate disagreements spawned by a globally integrated economy. The Institute is grateful to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for its generous support of this project and of the Institute's prior research in this interdisciplinary area.

Steve Weisman has been the vice president for publications and communications at the Peterson Institute since 2008. He had previously been the chief international economics correspondent of the New York Times since 2006. From 1995 to 2002, he served as a member of the editorial board of the Times, specializing in politics and economics. Earlier he served as deputy foreign editor for the Times and as bureau chief in Tokyo and New Delhi, as well as senior White House correspondent during the first term of President Ronald Reagan.

Arthur C. Brooks has been president of AEI since 2009. He is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise at AEI. Immediately before joining AEI, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship. He is the author of 11 books and hundreds of articles on topics including the role of government, fairness, economic opportunity, happiness, and the morality of free enterprise. His latest book, The Conservative Heart, also combines ethics and economics.

Steven Rattner is the chairman of Willett Advisors LLC, the investment arm for former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's personal and philanthropic assets. In addition, he serves as the economic analyst on MSNBC's Morning Joe and is a contributing writer to the New York Times op-ed page. He previously served as Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury and led the Obama administration's successful effort to restructure the automobile industry.

Event Materials

Book: The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization
Steven R. Weisman
January 2016

Book Discussion: Could Globalization Be Moral After All?
School of International Service, American University 
February 23, 2016