An Evening with Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz

An Evening with Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz

RMIT played host to Nobel Laureate and former World Bank Chief Economist Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz on Wednesday evening, when the best-selling author delivered the inaugural Laurie Carmichael Lecture at The Capitol.

Following a welcome address from RMIT Vice-Chancellor Professor Alec Cameron and opening comments from Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus, Professor Stiglitz delivered the lecture which centred on the economic importance of trade unions.

Professor Stiglitz contended that historical improvements in worker conditions have been driven by the collective action of unions, and as we begin the transition from a modern to an innovation economy, the need for continued union action becomes even more important. 

“Collective action needs to be at the centre of this reconstruction of the economy,” he said.

“Unions need to not only take the lead on this action, but also advocate for why it’s necessary if we’re going to achieve an economy in which the wellbeing of ordinary citizens is advanced.”

Wednesday's lecture was the first in what will become an annual event, delivered by RMIT in partnership with the Carmichael Centre — a new initiative of the Centre for Future Work at The Australia Institute, which undertakes research and education activities related to the legacy of former union leader Laurie Carmichael.

The inside of RMIT's Capitol Theatre, showing chairs and the Capitol sign. Joseph E. Stiglitz delivers the inaugural Carmichael Lecture at RMIT's The Capitol. Source: Kim Mak

Distinguished Professor Anthony Forsyth from RMIT said the Carmichael Lecture Series is central to the relationship developed between RMIT and the Australia Institute over the last two years, with the University assisting in the set up and operation of the Carmichael Centre.

“Having Professor Joseph Stiglitz deliver the inaugural Carmichael Lecture, with ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, is a wonderful opportunity to facilitate discussion of issues at the centre of the reform agenda of the new federal Labor Government: tackling inequality, boosting real wages for workers, and recognising the legitimate role of unions in economic and social policy formulation,” Forsyth said.

“The Carmichael Lectures will be a highlight on the RMIT academic calendar for many years to come,” he concluded. 

The inaugural lecture was sponsored by the Carmichael Centre and the Australia Institute, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Education Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz is touring Australia courtesy of The Australia Institute.

A full recording of the lecture is available here.


Story: Tegan Dickson


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.