Progressive Policy in a Dynamic Global Economy
Gene Sperling and Thomas Friedman shared insights from their new books, The Pro-Growth Progressive and The World is Flat. They also discussed the challenges policymakers face as they grapple with a more integrated global economy.
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Thomas L. Friedman, columnist, The New York Times; author, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
Gene Sperling, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; author, The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity
Robert Gordon, Senior Vice President for Economic Policy, Center for American Progress
Thomas Friedman became the New York Times Foreign Affairs Columnist in January 1995. In 1978, he received a Masters degree in Modern Middle East Studies from Oxford and immediately thereafter joined the London Bureau of United Press International (UPI). Mr. Friedman spent a year in London before being dispatched to Beirut as a UPI correspondent. He lived in Beirut from June 1979 to May 1981, when he was hired by the New York Times and brought back to New York. In April 1982, he was assigned by the New York Times to be its Beirut Bureau Chief, a post he took up six weeks before the Israeli invasion. In June 1984, Mr. Friedman was transferred to Jerusalem, where he served as the Times’ Israel Bureau Chief until February 1988, when he was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to write a book about his reflections on the Middle East. In 1989, he published From Beirut to Jerusalem, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the 1989 National Book Award for non-fiction and the 1989 Overseas Press Club Award for the Best Book on Foreign Policy. In January 1989, Mr. Friedman became the Times’ Chief Diplomatic Correspondent in Washington. In November 1992, Mr. Friedman shifted to domestic politics and was appointed Chief White House correspondent. In January 1994, Mr. Friedman shifted again, this time to economics and became the Times’ international economics correspondent, covering the nexus between foreign policy and trade policy. His book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, issued by Farrar Straus and Giroux in 1999, won the Overseas Press Club Award for best nonfiction book on foreign policy in 2000. In 2002 FSG published Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 and in April 2005 launched his most recent book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century . For his coverage of the Middle East, Mr. Friedman was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Lebanon) and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Israel). He was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary for “his clarity of vision…in commenting on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat.” In 2004, he was also awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University and, since 2005, the Board of the Pulitzer Prizes.
Gene B. Sperling is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. He served in the Clinton administration as the President’s National Economic Adviser and Director of the National Economic Council. Mr. Sperling was the third person to hold the role of Chief Economic Adviser in the White House, following Robert Rubin and Laura Tyson. Mr. Sperling, who served as either National Economic Adviser or as Deputy NEC Director for all eight years, was called by Mr. Clinton “the MVP” of the economic team. As Director of the NEC, Mr. Sperling was responsible for coordinating domestic and international economic cabinet members. Mr. Sperling coordinated the President’s Social Security and debt reduction efforts, and played a key role in such initiatives as the 1993 Deficit Reduction Act, the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and technology literacy initiative. Mr. Sperling also works on a variety of economic and international issues in several capacities: he is Senior Fellow for Economic Policy and Director of the Center on Universal Education at the Council of Foreign Relations; a weekly Economic Columnist for Bloomberg News; a frequent commentator on CNBC, Bloomberg Television, CNN, and Evening News on federal reserve policy, consumer confidence, and tax and budget issues; and is a contributing writer and consultant on NBC television drama, The West Wing.
Robert Gordon is the Senior Vice President for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress. Before joining the Center, Robert was the Domestic Policy Director for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, where he served as the campaign’s designee on the Democratic platform drafting committee. Previously, Robert worked for Senator John Edwards, first as his Judiciary Committee Counsel and Legislative Director in the Senate, then as the Policy Director for his presidential campaign. Prior to his work on Capitol Hill, Robert was a Law Clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a Skadden Fellow at the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, where he represented children in abuse and neglect proceedings. Robert also served in the Clinton White House as an aide to the National Economic Council and the Office of National Service, where he helped craft the legislation creating AmeriCorps. Robert graduated from Harvard College with highest honors and from Yale Law School. He is also a nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution.