Thursday, October 29, 2009

This could be interesting

A non market oriented economics think tank:
[F]inancier George Soros is announcing a $50 million effort to speed things along. This week Soros is gathering some of the leading practitioners of the market-skeptic school, who were marginalized during the era of "free-market fundamentalism," among them Nobelists Joseph Stiglitz, George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Sir James Mirrlees. He's also creating an "Institute for New Economic Thinking" to make research grants, convene symposiums, and establish a journal, all in an effort to take back the economics profession from the champions of free-market zealotry who have dominated it for decades, and to correct the failures of decades of market deregulation. Soros hopes matching funds will bring the total endowment up to $200 million.

This does sound potentially very interesting. And quite possibly overdue, given the stuff I've been reading for another class about how free-market-based development policies don't actually work very well. Is it possible that the timing of this think tank proposal has something to do with who won the Nobel Prize this year? Or perhaps it's simply a response to the recession. Either way, it has the potential to be very very interesting, if it goes anywhere.
It is never good to let any manner of thinking go unchallenged. History seems to agree with Minsky that booms lead to busts. Success leads to instability.
The Republicans would not reconstruct their institutions and moderate their platform unless Democrats are able to actually apply a progressive agenda. Americans classically oppose change until they are desperate. The Democrats weren nott crushed in the 2004 election, but the Bush-Cheney policies and the fact that many of them were implemented made progressives extremely desperate. Conservatives built their institutions because of the successful acceptance of liberal policies from 1960 thru the late 70's. Nothing that was passed under Clinton really threatened Conservatives. However, Republicans will seriously think about reconstruct their institutions if Obama is successful
This seems really interesting, considering how oftentimes, attempts to broaden economics from what Soros calls "free market fundamentalism" by including measures that account for externalities fall short and quite often have a cosmic sense of comedy around them. I'm interested in seeing where this goes.
It is really important to consider different points view. Moreover, "censured" thoughts cannot be dismissed as irrelevant, bringing light to them can provide interesting results.
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