Thursday, 8 February 2018

The Institute for New Economic Thinking.

I’ve long been puzzled as what the George Soros funded “Institute for New Economic Thinking” has produced which is “new”.  So I’m much amused by this description of an INET conference by Francis Coppola. She says:

“In the last two days we have had panel after panel of old white men discussing economic theories developed by old white men, many of them dead. Economic beliefs that I thought had been comprehensively debunked have reappeared, dressed up as "new thinking".

“It started to go wrong in the very first panel. Six white men and a token woman (this has been the general form of panels throughout the conference) discussing the economic stagnation of the last decade. Steven Fazzari and Adair Turner made some interesting comments, but the rest of the panel was terminally unoriginal. I lost interest quite quickly, turned to Twitter for light relief and got involved in a far more interesting discussion about whether or not banks earn seigniorage from lending, how we could measure this and whether it constitutes a hidden subsidy that should be removed. That discussion on Twitter sparked an even more interesting debate in the foyer of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre about banking reform. As a result, I now have some serious reading, thinking and writing to do, because I really do think banks need radical reform and it seems to have dropped off the agenda. But it didn't come from the INET conference. It came from Twitter.”

As regards “old white men”, doesn't that constitute ageism and sexism? Whether an idea emanates from someone who is old, young, male, female or “dead” is irrelevant. The only important question is whether the the idea is a good one or not.

On the positive side, I’m delighted to see Francis hone in on the question as to “whether or not banks earn seigniorage from lending, how we could measure this and whether it constitutes a hidden subsidy..”. I hope she does some articles on that in the near future.

That’s actually a CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT question. Only seriously clever people like Francis (and me of course – ha ha) have cottoned onto that. In contrast, the duffers charged with regulating banks scarcely know what a bank is.

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