Billionaire George Soros has provided $50 million to establish the Institute for New Economic Thinking that looks to rethink how modern economies work. Modern capitalism is need of a complete overhaul given the ongoing global struggles countries are having running and improving their economies – let alone improving the lives of their people.
It’s good to see that even the people who profited from modern capitalism see it’s failures and want to fix them.
What does the institute aim to achieve?
A radical reorientation of economic theory. Exactly what shape it will take is impossible to predict, but I hope it will recognise the fundamental uncertainties in our economic system. These uncertainties have been ignored for the past 25 years.
Wouldn’t it be better to eliminate the uncertainties, so we can avoid a repeat of the financial crisis of 2008?
We will never be able to do that. There will always be a threat of instability – it’s built into the market. You can’t avoid it, but you can be aware of it. Perfection might be unattainable, but we can become less imperfect by recognising the imperfections.
Tell me about some of the projects that have been selected for funding by the institute.
I am encouraged by the fact that INET is embracing multiple disciplines. The first round of grants have been given to people with backgrounds in law, history, medicine and science, as well as economics and finance. Several projects are taking concepts directly from science, such as the mathematics behind the spread of contagious diseases, and applying the principles to financial markets. During the financial crisis we saw instances of contagion – how a relatively small number of infected institutions made others sick.