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Mark Weisbrot

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Mark Weisbrot
Mark Weisbrot
Born Mark Alan Weisbrot
Chicago, Illinois U.S.
Nationality American
Institution Center for Economic and Policy Research
Alma mater University of Michigan
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), an independent, nonpartisan think tank, which produces economic research on topics that affect people's lives to contribute to the public debate (social security, healthcare, the national budget), and internationally (global economy, International Monetary Fund, and Latin America policy).[3]

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.[4] 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.” [5]

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, U.S. efforts to undermine the government, and the media inside the country.[6][7]

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). He has supported efforts by South American governments to create a Bank of the South, in order to make them more independent of the IMF. Weisbrot's work on Latin American countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela has been international in scope, and in 2008 was cited by Brazilian Foreign Secretary Celso Amorim.[8] 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, including with Greece’s former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.[9][10][11]

Weisbrot's latest book is Failed: What the Experts Got Wrong About the Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2015).[12] 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.[13] Weisbrot has made these arguments in various contexts over the years, for example on Greece,[14] [15] on Spain,[16] and most recently, in The New York Times on the French presidential election in April 2017.[17] 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.[18] 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." [19]

Weisbrot writes a column on economic and policy issues that is distributed across the United States by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.[7] He also writes a regular column for The Hill (newspaper).[20] From 2009 to 2014, he wrote a regular column for The Guardian.[21]


Weisbrot argues that globalization as promoted by the United States government and multilateral lending institutions such as the International Monetary Fund 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."[22] Economist Jeffrey Sachs has stated that Weisbrot was "the leader in fighting" the Washington Consensus behind much of this globalization.

Weisbrot has been described as the "intellectual architect"[23][24][25][26] behind the Bank of the South, a joint project by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela which was spearheaded by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.[27] He criticized the role played by the IMF while taking an active role in developing 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".[27][28]

At five year intervals beginning in 2000, Weisbrot co-authored a series of papers looking at the progress in economic growth and social indicators - including life expectancy, infant and child mortality, and education - for all countries with available data. The papers found a sharp slowdown in economic growth for the vast majority of low-and-middle-income countries in the last two decades of the 20th century, with an accompanying diminished rate of progress on social indicators; and a rebound in the first two decades of the 21st century. The research attributed the two decades of failure to neoliberal policy changes adopted by most countries during the last decades of the 20th century. It attributed the 21st century rebound to some improvements in policy; China’s growth, its massive contribution to poverty reduction, and its increased trade volumes with developing countries; and the International Monetary Fund’s diminished role in middle-income countries. On October 9th, 2017, Weisbrot presented the most recent report, which emphasized the role of China, with economist Jeffrey Sachs in Washington, DC.[29]

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.[30]

Latin America

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

Weisbrot has written papers and opeds about Brazil since the early 2000s. He argued that from 2003 to 2011 the country was successful in reducing poverty and inequality, and increasing GDP growth.[31] 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.[32]

In 2008, Francisco Rodríguez, Head of Research of the Human Development Report of the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme, debated with Weisbrot on his views of Hugo Chávez's economic policies.[33][34]

In 2014, Weisbrot and his colleague Deborah James attended the "Chávez Was Here" organized by the Embassy of Venezuela, Washington, D.C. gathering on the one-year anniversary of the death of Hugo Chávez. While speaking on the panel, he praised the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution while criticizing the Latin American media, the English-language media and the Venezuelan opposition.[35][36]

A 2016 National Review article describing Venezuela's deterioration following the Bolivarian Revolution, Weisbrot was described as one of the "leftist admirers of Venezuela" and an "ardent cheerleader" of Hugo Chávez's policies.[37]

South of the Border

Weisbrot and Tariq Ali wrote the screenplay for the Oliver Stone's 2009 film, South of the Border, which examined the "pink tide" of elected leftist governments in South America.[38][39][40]

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.[41] Weisbrot has contested the claims of inaccuracies, suggesting that they are indicative of sloppy and misleading coverage of Venezuela in the popular press.[42]

Works and publications

Selected articles


  1. ^ "Board: Mark Weisbrot". Just Foreign Policy. 
  2. ^ Weisbrot, Mark Alan (1993). Ideology and Method in the History of Development Economics (Thesis/dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. OCLC 68796746. 
  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. 
  4. ^ Baker, Dean; Weisbrot, Mark (1999). Social Security: The Phony Crisis. Chicago, IL: Univ. of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-03544-4. OCLC 41090883. 
  5. ^ "All-clear?". The Economist. 2000-04-13. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2017-06-18. 
  6. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (5 March 2002). "Statement of Dr. Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research". Argentina's Economic Meltdown: Causes and Remedies (PDF). Washington, DC: United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade, Committee on Financial Services. pp. 44–47, 118–128. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "Diversified markets have cut Brazil's exposure to US crisis". MercoPress. 4 April 2008. 
  9. ^ 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). 
  10. ^ Varoufakis, Yanis (16 May 2012). "Weisbrot and Krugman are Wrong: Greece cannot pull off an Argentina". Yanis Varoufakis: Thoughts for the Post-2008 World. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Failed: What the "Experts" Got Wrong about the Global Economy. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. 2015-10-01. ISBN 9780195170184. 
  13. ^ "'Failed: What the "Experts" Got Wrong on the Global Economy'". The Real News Network. 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  14. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2010-05-12). "The E.U.'s Dangerous Game". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  15. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2011-05-09). "Why Greece Should Say No to the Euro". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  16. ^ Renner, Nausicaa (2016-02-24). "Why Spain Won't Quit the Eurozone". Boston Review. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  17. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2017-04-20). "Could a Leftist Bring Growth Back to France?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  18. ^ "Failed: What the 'Experts' Got Wrong about the Global Economy". naked capitalism. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  19. ^ "ZCommunications » Planting the seeds of the future". Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  20. ^ "Site". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  21. ^ "Mark Weisbrot". the Guardian. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  22. ^ Kahn, Joseph (2002). "Globalization: Unspeakable, Yes, But is it Really Evil? May 7, 2000". In Veseth, Michael. The Rise of the Global Economy. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-579-58369-9. OCLC 59404712. 
  23. ^ 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.) 
  24. ^ "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) 
  25. ^ "El Banco del Sur será un arma financiera contra EEUU, según sus promotores". America Economica. 18 September 2007. 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) 
  26. ^ 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) 
  27. ^ a b Heredia, Lourdes (10 December 2007). "Why South America wants a new bank". BBC News. 
  28. ^ "A Bank of Their Own: Latin America Casting Off Washington's Shackles". NACLA. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  29. ^ "Scorecard Series". Retrieved 2018-02-02. 
  30. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (18 July 2014). "Opinion: BRICS' new financial institutions could undermine US-EU global dominance". Al Jazeera America. 
  31. ^ Weisbrot, Mark, Jake Johnston, and Stephan Lefebvre (9-2014). "The Brazilian Economy in Transition: Macroeconomic Policy, Labor and Inequality" (PDF). Retrieved 2-14-2018.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  32. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (2018). "Opinion | Brazil's Democracy Pushed Into the Abyss". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  33. ^ Rodríguez, Francisco (25 March 2008). "How Not to Defend the Revolution: Mark Weisbrot and the Misinterpretation of Venezuelan Evidence" (PDF). Wesleyan Economic Working Papers. Wesleyan University. 
  34. ^ Weisbrot, Mark (April 2008). "How Not to Attack An Economist (and An Economy): Getting the Numbers Right" (PDF). Center for Economic and Policy Research. 
  35. ^ Weisbrot, Mark; Kovalik, Dan; Escalona, Julio; Early, James. "The Legacy of Hugo Chávez One Year After His Death (Audio)" (Includes audio). North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) (in English with English and Spanish audio). 
  36. ^ "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. 
  37. ^ Cárdenas, José (18 May 2016). "In Venezuela, Socialism Is Killing Venezuelans". National Review. 
  38. ^ "Chavez gets red-carpet treatment in Venice". Today Show. The Associated Press. 7 September 2009. 
  39. ^ Sigerson, Davitt (25 November 2008). "Oliver Stone". Interview Magazine. 
  40. ^ Johnson, Reed (1 September 2009). "Oliver Stone heads 'South of the Border' to chat up Chavez and others". Los Angeles Times. 
  41. ^ Rohter, Larry (26 July 2010). "Oliver Stone Still Doesn't Get It". History News Network. 
  42. ^ 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. 

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