Mark Weisbrot

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Mark Weisbrot
Mark Weisbrot, CEPR.jpg
Mark Alan Weisbrot

InstitutionCenter for Economic and Policy Research
Alma materUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (BA)
University of Michigan (MA, PhD)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Mark Alan Weisbrot is an American economist and columnist. He is co-director with Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C. Weisbrot is President of Just Foreign Policy, a non-governmental organization dedicated to reforming United States foreign policy.[1]

Early life and education

Weisbrot was born in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign with a bachelor's degree in economics. Weisbrot received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.[2]


In 1999, Weisbrot co-founded, together with economist Dean Baker, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), a think tank which produces economic research on topics that affect people's lives to contribute to the public debate in the U.S. (inequality, macroeconomic policy and stability, labor markets, health and social programs, intellectual property, social security), and internationally: globalization and trade, the International Monetary Fund and institutions of global governance, Latin American and European economies, and US foreign policy.[3]

Weisbrot provided testimony to Congressional hearings in 2002 to a United States House of Representatives committee on the Argentine economic crisis (1999–2002) and in 2004 to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the state of democracy in Venezuela with what he claimed were U.S. efforts to undermine the government, and the media inside the country.[4][5]

As an economist, Weisbrot has opposed privatization of the United States Social Security system and has been critical of neoliberal globalization and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). His work on Greece's ongoing debt crisis has influenced the debate over what measures the Greek government should take in negotiating a solution with the European Central Bank, European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund.[6][7]


Weisbrot argues that globalization as promoted by the United States government and multilateral lending institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank has failed poorer countries, stating that "no nation has ever pulled itself out of poverty under the conditions that Washington imposes on underdeveloped countries."[8] Economist Jeffrey Sachs has stated that Weisbrot was "the leader in fighting" the Washington Consensus behind much of this globalization.[9]

Weisbrot has been described as the "intellectual architect"[10][11][12][13] behind the unsuccessful[14][15] Bank of the South, a joint project by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela which was spearheaded by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.[16] He criticized the role played by the IMF while taking an active role in promoting the bank, describing the Bank of the South as "another Declaration of Independence for South America" and that it was "Latin America casting off Washington's shackles".[16][17]

Weisbrot co-authors with CEPR a series of papers looking at the progress in economic growth and social indicators. In 2017, he presented the most recent report, which emphasized the role of China, with Sachs in Washington, D.C.[18]

Weisbrot has continued to suggest that the founding of other alternative lending and finance institutions that do not include participation by the U.S., such as those being created by the BRICS countries, may have positive implications both for borrowing countries and in terms of weakening the influence of Washington-based institutions like the IMF.[19]

Latin America

Weisbrot in 2017

Weisbrot has written and co-authored research papers and articles on the economies and politics of Latin America and the Caribbean for the past two decades. The countries covered include Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Beginning in 2001, Weisbrot challenged the prevailing consensus on the Argentine economic crisis, arguing that IMF-supported austerity was counter-productive and that the country needed to devalue its currency in order to recover. After the Argentine government defaulted on its debt at the end of 2001, and allowed the currency to float against the dollar at the beginning of 2002, Weisbrot continued to argue against what he called harmful attempts by the IMF to influence policy in the post-default period.[20] He later wrote papers arguing the Argentina's policies in the 2002-2011 period, after its default and separation from the IMF, were successful.

Weisbrot has argued that, from 2003 to 2011, Brazil was successful in reducing poverty and inequality, and increasing GDP growth.[21] Weisbrot attributed these successes in part to policy changes that were an improvement over the neoliberal program Brazil adopted in the 1980s. However, he was critical of austerity and high interest rates after 2010, arguing that these were unnecessary and led to a prolonged recession. Weisbrot argued against the impeachment of former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and the corruption conviction of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2018, pointing to a lack of precedent and evidence to justify the proceedings.[22]


Articles in The New York Times,[23] USA Today,[24] and The Washington Post[25] described Weisbrot as supportive of the policies implemented during Hugo Chávez's presidency. In a 2016 National Review article about Venezuela's deterioration following the Bolivarian Revolution, José Cárdenas described Weisbrot as one of the "leftist admirers of Venezuela" and an "ardent cheerleader" of Chávez's policies.[26]

In 2013, Weisbrot praised the Venezuelan government for its gains in poverty, real income, employment, healthcare, and education, and said that the possibility of hyperinflation was "very remote", that economic problems were "not likely" and that "Venezuela has sufficient reserves".[27] In 2014, Weisbrot and his colleague Deborah James attended the "Chávez Was Here" gathering organized by the Embassy of Venezuela, Washington, D.C. on the one-year anniversary of the death of Hugo Chávez. While speaking on the panel, he praised the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution and criticised the Latin American media, the English-language media and the Venezuelan opposition.[28][29][why?]

A 2019 report by Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, claimed that a 31% rise in the number of deaths between 2017 and 2018 was due to the sanctions imposed on Venezuela in 2017, and that 40,000 people in Venezuela may have died as a result.[30] The report states: "The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports."[30] Weisbrot stated that he "could not prove those excess deaths were the result of sanctions, but said the increase ran parallel to the imposition of the measures and an attendant fall in oil production".[30] A US State Department spokesperson said that, "as the writers themselves concede, the report is based on speculation and conjecture" and "the economic situation in Venezuela has been deteriorating for decades, as Venezuelans themselves will confirm, thanks to Maduro's ineptitude and economic mismanagement."[30] Harvard economist Ricardo Hausmann, Juan Guaidó's representative to the Inter-American Development Bank,[31] said that the analysis was flawed because it made invalid assumptions about Venezuela based on a different country, Colombia, and that "taking what happened in Colombia since 2017 as a counterfactual for what would have happened in Venezuela if there had been no financial sanctions makes no sense". Calling it "sloppy reasoning", Haussman and Frank Muci, state that the analysis failed to rule out other explanations, and failed to correctly account for PDVSA finances.[32]

South of the Border

Weisbrot was an advisor,[33] and co-wrote with Tariq Ali the screenplay for the Oliver Stone's 2009 film, South of the Border,[34] which examined the "pink tide" of elected leftist governments in South America.

Weisbrot disagreed with Larry Rohter, the former South American bureau chief of The New York Times, over his statements on Venezuela, where Rohter claimed that in support of the film South of the Border, Weisbrot, Tariq Ali, and Oliver Stone manipulated data to present a positive image of Hugo Chávez.[35] Rohter described Weisbrot as "... an economist, not a historian, and apparently not a very good one", suggesting that he was "Either ... incompetent [or] deliberately manipulating the numbers."[35] Weisbrot contested the claims of inaccuracies, suggesting that they are indicative of sloppy and misleading coverage of Venezuela in the popular press, and saying that "the way most Americans get the idea that Venezuela is a dictatorship, for example, is from these editorials".[36]


Weisbrot writes for The Nation,[37] and The Hill.[38] He also writes an economic and policy issues column that is distributed across the United States by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.[5] From 2009 to 2014, he wrote a regular column for The Guardian.[39]


Weisbrot is co-author, with Baker, of Social Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 1999). In the book, Weisbrot and Baker argue that much of the United States Social Security debate has been based on misconceptions, that privatization would be unlikely to improve the system, and that the system, in fact, performs satisfactorily and does not need substantial changes, needing only minor adjustments to in order to continue to pay all promised benefits for the ensuing 75 years.[40] In reviewing the book, The Economist wrote that “Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot have no trouble at all demonstrating that even on highly conservative assumptions about economic growth, the much-forecast insolvency of the Social Security system by about 2030 is most unlikely to happen then, if indeed ever.”[41]

Weisbrot's latest book is Failed: What the Experts Got Wrong About the Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2015).[42] In an interview, Weisbrot described the book as critiquing the bad macroeconomic policies often imposed by European authorities, who are ultimately unaccountable to the citizens of the sovereign states that they represent. These policies, he says, prolonged the economic crises in the aftermath of the Great Recession in Europe, which had a much higher unemployment rate than in the U.S., and forced unpopular economic policies of more vulnerable European countries.[43] Weisbrot has made these arguments in various contexts over the years, for example on Greece,[44][45] on Spain,[46] and most recently, in The New York Times on the 2017 French presidential election.[47] In an otherwise positive review, Weisbrot was criticized for advocating that Greece would have been better off had it had left the eurozone during its economic crisis.[48] Noam Chomsky called Failed "careful and well-documented" and said it "makes a persuasive case that one goal of the [policies imposed by European authorities] has been to dismantle the social democratic policies that were one of Europe’s contributions to civilized life in the post-World War II period but were unwelcome to major centers of traditional power".[49]


Francisco Rodríguez, an economist of Wesleyan University accused Weisbrot of being biased for praising Hugo Chávez's economic policies and stated that Weisbrot's work had a "use of heavily slanted data".[50]

In a History News Network article, Larry Rohter, the former South American bureau chief of The New York Times stated that Weisbrot along with his colleague Tariq Ali "have sent to a number of news organizations and websites" claims that were "full of indisputably false assertions". Rohter also says that Weisbrot manipulated data to give a positive image of Hugo Chávez in the film South of the Border.[35] Weisbrot defended his work saying that Rohter didn't find any inaccuracies and that Rohter "tried rather desperately" to find inaccuracies that no one would notice.[51]

Works and publications

  • Weisbrot, Mark Alan (1993). Ideology and Method in the History of Development Economics (Thesis/dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. OCLC 68796746. {{cite book}}: |format= requires |url= (help)
  • Baker, Dean; Weisbrot, Mark (1999). Social Security: The Phony Crisis. Chicago, IL: Univ. of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-03544-4. OCLC 41090883.
  • Weisbrot, Mark (2015). Failed: What the "Experts" Got Wrong About the Global Economy. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-195-17018-4. OCLC 928088357.


  1. ^ "Board: Mark Weisbrot". Just Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  2. ^ Weisbrot, Mark Alan (1993). Ideology and Method in the History of Development Economics (Thesis/dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. OCLC 68796746. {{cite book}}: |format= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ K.S., Jomo; Weisbrot, Mark; James, Deborah (15 April 2011). "The Scorecard on Development, 1960-2010: Closing the Gap?" (Video). Center for Economic and Policy Research. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19.
  4. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (5 March 2002). "Statement of Dr. Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research" (PDF). Argentina's Economic Meltdown: Causes and Remedies. Washington, DC: United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade, Committee on Financial Services. pp. 44–47, 118–128.
  5. ^ a b Weisbrot, Mark (24 June 2004). "Statement of Dr. Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research". The State of Democracy in Venezuela. Washington, DC: Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs on the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate. pp. 61–64.
  6. ^ Mars, Amanda (4 March 2012). "Grecia solo ve pobreza: El país afronta un rescate plagado de austeridad y de incertidumbre Las agencias siguen alertando del peligro de una bancarrota helena". El País (in Spanish).
  7. ^ Weisbrot, Mark; Antonopolous, Rania; Milios, Yiannis; Ginsburg, Helen; Grey, Rohan; Tsipras, Alexis (24 January 2013). "Modern Money and Public Purpose: An Evening with Syriza: On Greece and the Eurozone - Part 2" (Video). Modern Money Network. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19.
  8. ^ Kahn, Joseph (2002). "Globalization: Unspeakable, Yes, But is it Really Evil? May 7, 2000". In Veseth, Michael (ed.). The Rise of the Global Economy. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-579-58369-9. OCLC 59404712.
  9. ^ Event Transcript - The Scorecard on Development, 1960–2016: China and the Global Economic Rebound. CEPR. Retrieved on March 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Pino, Soledad (September 2007). "El Modelo Americano no es Mejor que El Europeo" (PDF). La Cave (in Spanish). pp. 44–47. ... se le considera el artífice intelectual del Banco del Sur, un proyecto impulsado por el presidente venezolano ... Segun fuentes cercanas, el propio Chavez consulta con cierta frecuencia a Weisbrot, aunque no siempre seguiría sus consejos. (He is considered the intellectual architect of the Bank of the South, a project initiated by the Venezuelan president ... according to sources close to him, Chavez himself consults Weisbrot with some regularity, although he may not always follow his advice.)
  11. ^ "Banco del Sur: su objetivo contrarrestar la presencia del BM y del FMI". Diariocrítico (in Spanish). Retrieved 30 June 2017. Mark Weisbrot, artífice intelectual del Banco del Sur (Mark Weisbrot, intellectual architect of the Bank of the South)
  12. ^ "El Banco del Sur será un arma financiera contra EEUU, según sus promotores". America Economica. 18 September 2007. Archived from the original on 22 November 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2017. Mark Weisbrot, artífice intelectual de la propuesta del Banco del Sur (Mark Weisbrot, intellectual author of the proposal of the Bank of the South)
  13. ^ Cristóbal Carle, Gregorio (4 November 2008). "El Banco del Sur: un arma de la Revolución Chavista | GEES" (in Spanish). Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos. Retrieved 30 June 2017. sus promotores - Mark Weisbrot, artífice intelectual de la propuesta (its promoters - Mark Weisbrot, intellectual architect of the proposal)
  14. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (August 17, 2016). "FAILED: What the "Experts" Got Wrong on the Global Economy". Real News. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  15. ^ Mares, David R. and Harold A. Trinkunas (2016). Aspirational Power: Brazil on the Long Road to Global Influence. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 9780815727965. Although an initial document for the establishment of the bank was signed in December 2007, it took another two years to finalize the agreement creating it. Among the controversial points was the question of voting rights ... The Bank of the South project, however, remains paralyzed six years after its ratification ... as of this writing in February 2016, the Bank of the South is still not capitalized ...
  16. ^ a b Heredia, Lourdes (10 December 2007). "Why South America wants a new bank". BBC News.
  17. ^ "A Bank of Their Own: Latin America Casting Off Washington's Shackles". NACLA. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Scorecard Series". 12 April 2011. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  19. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (18 July 2014). "Opinion: BRICS' new financial institutions could undermine US-EU global dominance". Al Jazeera America.
  20. ^ Rohter, Larry (26 December 2004). "Argentina's Economic Rally Defies Forecasts". New York Times.
  21. ^ Weisbrot, Mark, Jake Johnston, and Stephan Lefebvre (2014). "The Brazilian Economy in Transition: Macroeconomic Policy, Labor and Inequality" (PDF). Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  22. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2018). "Opinion | Brazil's Democracy Pushed Into the Abyss". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  23. ^ Romero, Simon (May 18, 2008). "Chávez Seizes Greater Economic Power". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2010. Mark Weisbrot, a Washington-based economist who is broadly supportive of Mr. Chávez's economic policies, ...
  24. ^ "Polls: Support for Chavez government falling". USA Today. March 18, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2010. ... Weisbrot, who has supported Chavez's policies.
  25. ^ Forero, Juan and Peter S. Goodman (23 February 2007). "Chávez Builds His Sphere Of Influence". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2018. Some analysts supportive of Chávez's policies, like Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington ...
  26. ^ Cárdenas, José (18 May 2016). "In Venezuela, Socialism Is Killing Venezuelans". National Review.
  27. ^ Weisbrot, Mark. Sorry, Venezuela haters: this economy is not the Greece of Latin America. Guardian, 7 November 2013. Retrieved on 14 March 2018.
  28. ^ Weisbrot, Mark; Kovalik, Dan; Escalona, Julio; Early, James. "The Legacy of Hugo Chávez One Year After His Death (Audio)". North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) (in English and Spanish). Includes audio
  29. ^ "Peoples of Latin America continue progressing to reach our destiny: independence". Embassy of Venezuela, Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on 8 July 2014.
  30. ^ a b c d Buncombe, Andrew (26 April 2019). "US sanctions on Venezuela responsible for 'tens of thousands' of deaths, claims new report". The Independent. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  31. ^ "Venezuela's Guiado pushes to name new representative to regional lender". Reuters. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  32. ^ Hausmann, Ricardo and Frank Muci (2 May 2019). "Don't blame Washington for Venezuela's oil woes: rebuttal". Americas Quarterly. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  33. ^ "Chavez gets red-carpet treatment in Venice". Today Show. The Associated Press. 7 September 2009. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  34. ^ Gilsdorf, Ethan (October 1, 2010). "Movie Review: South of the Border". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  35. ^ a b c Rohter, Larry (26 July 2010). "Oliver Stone Still Doesn't Get It". History News Network.
  36. ^ Weisbrot, Mark; Serwer, Adam (16 July 2010). "Adam Serwer on DOJ/New Black Panthers, Mark Weisbrot on South of the Border" (Includes audio). CounterSpin, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
  37. ^ Weisbrot, Mark. "Weisbrot, Mark". The Nation. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  38. ^ Weisbrot, Mark. "Site". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  39. ^ "Mark Weisbrot". the Guardian. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  40. ^ Baker, Dean; Weisbrot, Mark (1999). Social Security: The Phony Crisis. Chicago, IL: Univ. of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-03544-4. OCLC 41090883.
  41. ^ "All-clear?". The Economist. 2000-04-13. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2017-06-18.
  42. ^ Failed: What the "Experts" Got Wrong about the Global Economy. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. 2015-10-01. ISBN 9780195170184.
  43. ^ "Failed: What the "Experts" Got Wrong on the Global Economy". The Real News Network. 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  44. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2010-05-12). "The E.U.'s Dangerous Game". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  45. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2011-05-09). "Why Greece Should Say No to the Euro". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  46. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2016-02-24). "Why Spain Won't Quit the Eurozone". Boston Review. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  47. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2017-04-20). "Could a Leftist Bring Growth Back to France?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  48. ^ "Failed: What the 'Experts' Got Wrong about the Global Economy". naked capitalism. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  49. ^ "ZCommunications » Planting the seeds of the future". 20 July 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  50. ^ Rodríguez, Francisco. "How Not to Defend the Revolution: Mark Weisbrot and the Misinterpretation of Venezuelan Evidence" (PDF). Wesleyan University. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  51. ^ "Adam Serwer on DOJ/New Black Panthers, Mark Weisbrot on South of the Border". Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. 2010-07-16. Retrieved 14 May 2014.

External links