When George Soros invests $50 million to revolutionize the way Americans think about a certain issue, it would normally be deemed newsworthy. Not so with the formation of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). Three months after a summit in New York state last July, Soros pledged $50 million to INET, which promises “to promote changes in economic theory and practice” by “providing the proper guidance” to “the next generation.”
Despite its name, its philosophy is nearly a century old. The group blames the economic crisis on free market capitalism and promotes a return to the theories of John Maynard Keynes. INET hosted its inaugural conference April 8-10 at King’s College, Keynes’ school, and called on economists to “apply the same Keynesian courage and innovation” to ending the worldwide recession.
The $787 billion economic stimulus package passed and signed into law last month had any number of co-sponsors in Congress, but in a real sense its main author was someone deceased for more than 60 years:John Maynard Keynes.The measure, and proposals subsequent to it, represent a tribute to a highly flawed, though highly original thinker.They also speak of a larger ongoing and recent pendulum shift in theory and policy.