As dark as our time is in so many ways, there exists one great ray of hope: that we may finally have reached the end of the line for neoliberal economics, the theories advanced by Milton Friedman and others in the 1960s and 1970s that replaced Keynesianism as the country’s reigning economic philosophy (and that, frustratingly and for some confusingly, have nothing whatsoever to do with liberalism).
The economy is doing very well at the moment, it’s true; but increasingly, recognition that it’s doing especially well for only a few has grown and grown. More and more people have come to see that the market, left to its own devices, does not distribute goods equitably, that lack of public investment hurts our economic position in the world and our communities, and that all the philanthropy in the world can’t address problems like climate change on anywhere near the scale required. We need taxes, investment, and public purpose.
But if we are to replace neoliberalism, we must have an answer to the question: with what? That’s the question this symposium seeks to answer. With the support of the Hewlett Foundation, we assembled a prominent group of contributors who are deeply engaged in finding that answer. Together, these essays describe what this new economics would look like, and the support structures that would be needed to nurture and sustain it. Let’s get to work.