The Institute For New Economic Thinking

Image source: Andrew Mackinnon

One question that is arising more and more frequently in our society relates to how our current thinking about money is flawed. The disastrous financial crisis of 2008 that highlighted the bad practices of bankers was one such prompt for people to start questioning these issues. Another is the fact that even though it is known that a stable middle class is what leads to development and growth, the middle class is disintegrating as the rich get ever richer and the poor get poorer. The Institute for New Economic Thinking sets about trying to address some of the challenges that our current mind set of economic thinking appears to have created. Specifically, the organisation has a mission to:

“Nurture a global community of next generation economic leaders, to provoke new economic thinking, and to inspire the economics profession to engage the challenges of the 21st century.”

The idea behind taking on board such a monumental challenge is that the Institute for New Economic Thinking believes that there are a number of difficult and major challenges that need to be addressed in the 21st century. The Institute seeks to try to change this way of thinking in a transformational manner through funding research, building communities and just simply spreading the word about the reasons why change are essential and why the current thinking is unsustainable. The organisation has been successful already in attracting a range of economic gurus to its doors, including economists that have won the Nobel Prize and also students and professors that are interested in engaging in a discussion of this nature.

Web video and social media in particular are some of the tools that are being used to spread these new ideas to like-minded people, argues the Institute for New Economic Thinking. In the following video, professor Fred Block discusses the free market ideology in an interview given to the Institute For New Economic Thinking.

The Institute also uses a whole range of more traditional means to come up with new ways of thinking about economics. For example, the Institute awards grants to individuals or teams that have research projects that look at economic thinking. Grants are considerable in size and range from between $25,000 to $250,000. The types of projects funded, as you might expect, are those that might typically not be funded via traditional funding channels for academia. In addition the Institute identifies issues that it believes requires grater research. These projects may be carried out over several years and they are typically run by senior economists.

Conferences are another approach that is taken to spread the word and to try to engage people in new ways of thinking about economics. Conferences are held in a variety of different places around the world, and these seek to bring together people to discuss complex questions that require a more urgent solution on thinking than other questions. Partnerships have also been built between the Institute and universities, think tanks and research based institutions, and this aims to build hubs that allow people to communicate about these matters more easily. At the same time, the organisation’s website is being heavily utilised to build up and connect together a global community of people that are interested in getting involved.

Image source: Wikimedia

In fact, the organisation’s website is home to a whole host of different videos designed to challenge the current economic thinking mind set. Videos cover many diverse areas. For example, a video of Andrea Terzi discusses how to fix the Eurozone architecture, while Adair Turner converses on the consequences of money manager capitalism. Peter Victor asks what the difference is between growth and prosperity, while Amir Herzberg asks what could go wrong with cyber security and centralised data. There are many pages that provide videos designed to make people think and question the current paradigm.

It is unclear the extent to which the Institute for New Economic Thinking has actually changed any mind sets so far. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the organisation is creating a fascinating discourse that should allow people to be able to step back and question what is going on in our society. Through generating ideas from academics as well as young economic thinkers, it is believed by the Institute that a new future is possible that is fresh faced and cast aside the baggage of the past. Can the institute really achieve all of this? Watch this space!

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Twitter: @INETeconomics