In October 2013, Demos hosted a high-level convening on New Economic Paradigms, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation. In a spirit of dialogue with the broader research and advocacy community, we are happy to make some of the materials we developed for the convening more widely available here.
About the Demos/Rockefeller convening on New Economic Paradigms
The global financial crisis of 2008 exposed the weaknesses of the late-twentieth century economic paradigm. Today, the United States and other wealthy countries are experiencing painful structural and political challenges amid declining standards of living for most of their populations. At the same time, the need for development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America is being thwarted by extreme economic inequities and serious collective challenges on climate change and resource distribution.
Watch the New York conference here:
These trends are suggestive of a previous era, when the economic crisis and global conflicts of the 1930s and 1940s led to many nations adopting a new economic order. This new order was built for shared prosperity and supported by a civic balance between individual freedom and social obligation. Although varied in degree and kind across countries, the resulting policies forged a consensus among business, government, and citizens that organized economic life for roughly half a century. As that consensus unraveled due to challenges posed by globalization, technological change, and shifts in the political landscape, our economy of the last three decades has continued to grow, yet social progress has stalled. We are growing in ways that have proved to be increasingly inequitable, domestically and globally. And in many respects this inequitable growth is also threatening our quality of life and the health of the planet. Yet three years after the official end of the Great Recession, our politics have failed to deliver a vision for a new direction, much less a public debate that could yield any kind of consensus.
Our aim for the Bellagio convening on New Economic Paradigms was to begin the process of aligning key stakeholders around the very notion of such a transformation, guided by the principles of equitable growth, shared prosperity, inclusive democracy, and ecological resilience—and necessarily with a global perspective reflecting the interconnected and interdependent nature of today's society.
To launch this process, we welcomed a diverse group of 20 luminary participants to Bellagio, including prominent economists, political leaders, representatives from monetary and multilateral institutions, and leaders from community and labor organizations for a three-day retreat. A detailed report on the dialogues is available here.
Monica Prasad (Northwestern University). This paper examines the U.S. political economy in historical perspective to illuminate a distinctive policy structure oriented toward expanding consumer credit as America's core strategy for improving social welfare, and the negative consequences of this approach.
Barry Lynn (New America Foundation). In light of the demise of anti-trust over the last several decades, this paper documents growing concentrations of production and wealth, the resulting negative economic and political impacts in the United States and globally, and alternative pathways for diffusing economic power.
Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (South Africa). This paper documents the mounting evidence for rethinking the conventional growth-centered BRICS development model and outlines an alternative framework for raising living standards equitably and sustainably in the large developing countries.
Michael K. Brown (UC Santa Cruz). This paper examines persistent racial disparities in twentieth-century U.S. social policy and labor market institutions.
Wallace Turbeville (Demos). This paper analyzes the four-decade trend of financialization and its social consequences, and outlines a new social paradigm for financial markets.
Josh Bivens (Economic Policy Institute). This paper reassesses the origins and effects of the neoliberal policy revolution launched in the late 1970s.
Bina Agarwal (University of Manchester). This paper examines the emergence of new, women-led cooperative structures of agrarian production in the developing world, and assesses their potential as a core model for sustainable economic development.
Jesse Graham, et. al. (University of Southern California). This paper provides an overview of emerging findings in moral and political psychology which point to a deep structure of emotions and values at the heart of today's sharpening divides on economic issues.