Newsweek (h/t Ezra Klein) reports that George Soros is going to pour $50 million into an economic think tank that will combat free market fundamentalism. The “Institute of New Economic Thinking” will use grants, symposia, and a journal to encourage a wider range of economic thought.
On its face, this idea seems like a good one. There’s been a lot of talk about the broken sociology of the profession, and a lot of those problems are rooted in the chain of money that tends to fund free market economics. Obviously, it would be better if the change could happen from within the academy, more organically, but things like that take time. A “big push” like Soros’ thus seems warranted to encourage more Stiglitz’s, Krugman’s, et al.
Based on Soros’ predilections (he is a capitalist after all), I’m doubting that Polanyi and Marx are going to play heavily in this effort. Hyman Minksy certainly will, according to the article. Soros is a very finance-oriented guy- that’s where he’s made his money, after all. Nevertheless, it would be good if more people were open to concepts of capitalist instability, not just financial instability.