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Is Economic Theory to Blame for the Current Crisis? The Theoretical Foundations of Current Distress
Thursday, October 13, 2011 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)
New York, NY
In celebration of the 80th anniversary of John Maynard Keynes’ lectures at The New School, SCEPA’s Robert L. Heilbroner Memorial Lecture presents an address by Lord John Eatwell, president of Queens’ College and professor of Financial Policy at the University of Cambridge.
The paralysis in policy-making that is exacerbating the economic crisis has its roots in the failure of economic theory. It fails to explain the causes of the breakdown or provide an unambiguous path of action to mitigate its consequences. Today’s challenge is the same as that faced by Keynes in the 1930s: how to change the theoretical foundations of economic policy?
As Eatwell states, “Advocating sensible policies on ‘pragmatic’ grounds has never been enough to overcome primitive views on deficits, debt, and the role of the state.”
Lord John Eatwell is professor of financial policy at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, director of the Centre for Financial Analysis and Policy (CFAP) and president of Queens' College. From 1980 to 1996, Lord Eatwell was as a professor in the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research. From 1985 to 1992, he served as economic adviser to Neil Kinnock, the leader of the British Labour Party. In that post, he was responsible for much of the work that led to a substantial re-alignment of the Labour Party's economic policies. In 1992, he entered the House of Lords, and from 1993 to 1997 was Principal Opposition Spokesman on Treasury and Economic Affairs. In 1988, together with others, he set up the Institute for Public Policy Research, which has now established itself as one of Britain's leading policy think-tanks.
The Robert Heilbroner Memorial Lecture on the Future of Capitalism
In 1963, Robert Heilbroner earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research, where he was subsequently appointed Norman Thomas Professor of Economics in 1971. He taught at The New School for the next 20 years. Each year, SCEPA hosts a lecture by a distinguished scholar on long-term economic trends to honor Heilbroner's life work.
This annual lecture is used to gain a greater understanding of questions of economic justice and how the profit-seeking activities of private firms might also serve broader social goals. To use his words, "capitalism's uniqueness in history lies in its continuously self-generated change, but it is this very dynamism that is the system's chief enemy."
The event features a distinguished, scholarly talk on long-term economic trends. Past speakers include Nancy Folbre, James K. Galbraith, Sanford Jacoby, William Lazonick, and Stephen Marglin.