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Economic policies for a post neoliberal world

Thursday 26 March 2020
Downing College, Cambridge, UK -
all sessions in the Howard Building, Assembly Room 

 

Introduction: The past four decades have been characterized in many often-related ways – a period of neo-liberalism, of financialization, of globalization, of privatization and de-regulation. During these decades, inequality has risen in industrialised countries, labour’s share in national income been in decline and economic growth slowed. The evidence of the damage to the environment from human economic activity, and the dramatic consequences of failure to address climate change have become more apparent and urgent. The global financial crises shocked the complacency of the neo-liberal era, though a decade later it may be doubted how much has changed. The central purpose of this volume is to investigate a range of economic and social policies, which move in the direction of constructing a post-neoliberal world. These range over alternative forms of ownership (public, co-operative), policies to address and reverse economic and social inequalities, responses to the forces of globalization, re-constituting the financial system and its roles, and the nature of employment.


PAPER 1

Author: Philip Arestis

Professional affiliation: University of Cambridge, UK, and University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain

Title of proposed paper: Financial Stability: Still Unsettled for the Future

Abstract: The focus of this contribution is on financial stability and the extent to which current regulatory framework deals effectively with future threads to financial stability. While microprudential financial stability had been in place prior to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), macroprudential financial stability was ignored. Since the GFC, however, relevant macroprudential policies have been proposed. We discuss these issues, especially whether macroprudential proposals have been properly implemented and the extent to which they can guarantee current and future financial stability. These proposals are the US Dodd-Frank Act, the UK Vickers Report, the European Commission Liikanen Report, the IMF tax proposal and the international Basle III. It is the case that although the financial sectors around the world are stronger than before the crisis, they are still exposed to some serious problems that relate to financial stability. There is, thus, urgency to complete the financial regulatory reforms along with other policies.

 

PAPER 2
Authors: Yiannis Kitromilides

Professional affiliation: Associate Member Cambridge Centre for Economic and Public Policy, University of Cambridge, UK

Title of proposed paper: The Future of Capitalism and the Policy Implications

Abstract: In a recent article in the Financial Times (21 April 2019), which examines the views of leading figures of corporate America in relation to the future of capitalism, billionaire Ray Dalio amongst others, is reported to have said, ‘I’m a capitalist, and even I think capitalism is broken’. The future of capitalism is a theme constantly debated since Karl Marx’s famous prognosis that capitalism would eventually collapse under the pressure of its own numerous contradictions.  Although the debate is not new, there are new elements, which the chapter explores from a political economy perspective. Growing inequality and climate change, a by-product of the workings of capitalism, are discussed and the policy implications of dealing with these challenges in a globalised capitalist system are explored. Global problems require global solutions for sure. Existing policy models work within the context of policymaking within a nation state. A global political economy is needed.

 

PAPER 3
Author: Liliana Harding

Professional affiliation: University of East Anglia

Title of proposed paper: Moving People, Moving Capital in the Post-Neoliberal Era

Abstract: While financial liberalisation has featured in the Washington consensus, the need for supervision and transparency of capital movements has become a new priority. On the other hand, mobility of labour has the potential to enhance efficiency and prospects for poor people around the world, despite increased calls for restrictions. The comparative dynamics of capital and migrant flows is addressed, and linked to business cycle fluctuations in a historical perspective. We review the framework-governing factor movement and how people mobility is reflected in existing trade agreements. The discussion then moves to European countries experiencing large fluctuations in factor flows under EU freedom of movement. We consider redistributive effects of capital and labour mobility and related policies to legitimise markets in the face of increasing popular discontent. Policy options are presented and discussed in a post-neoliberal world context, which address wider social concerns and go beyond restrictions to mobility as temporary fixes.

 

PAPER 4
Author: Ahmad Seyf

Professional affiliation: The New College of the Humanities, UK

Title of proposed paper: Productivity Slowdown and Inequality: Killing two Birds with one Stone!
 
Abstract: More than ten years on from the start of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) the global economic context continues to be challenging; with economic growth still below its historical trend in advanced economies and continuing to slow in emerging markets. We witness also a worrying slowdown in productivity growth, which predates the GFC.  A related issue of concern is this decline in productivity growth coincided with persistently high inequalities of income, wealth and wellbeing in general. This, in turn, implies that we should not take it for granted that technological advances will automatically lead to better economic performance and stronger productivity growth. This contribution will argue we should have a broader and more inclusive approach to productivity growth. There should be more investment in the skills of people to expand the productive assets of an economy. Further polices are discussed to ensure that productivity growth benefits all parts of society.

 

PAPER 5
Author: Richard Lewney

Professional affiliation: Cambridge Econometrics, UK

Title of proposed paper: Environmental Policies to Save the Planet

Abstract: Neoliberal political economy has opposed or rolled back policy measures designed to protect the environment. Neoclassical economics recognises environmental degradation as a classic example of an externality and frames its response in terms of correcting that market failure, but the limitations of its marginal cost-benefit approach have been exposed in the climate change debate. This chapter draws on the author's experience in designing and applying macro-sectoral economic modelling to analyse the economic impacts of environmental policy for policy makers, with specific reference to climate change mitigation policy. The chapter explores the role that the key insights of Post-Keynesian and Schumpeterian economics (such as path dependence, radical uncertainty, the presence of heterogeneous actors, the role of money and finance, constraints imposed by stock-flow consistency and the representation of endogenous technical change) are playing in forming an analysis of environmental policy. This is better adapted to the challenge of tackling global warming.

 

PAPER 6
Author: Andrew Cumbers

Professional affiliation: University of Glasgow

Title of proposed paper: Public Ownership in the Pursuit of Economic Democracy in a Post Neoliberal Order

Abstract: Nowhere is the collapse of the neoliberal political and economic order more evident than in its failing signature project of privatisation. Hoist by the petard of its own contradictions in delivering more effectively managed and run public services, whilst also delivering up profit opportunities for private capital, privatisation in its purest form is in retreat. Meanwhile state intervention and public ownership are coming back, in diverse ways, to the management and governance of the economy. This is evident in the new ways that governments are finding to prop up and subsidise failing private solutions, to the growing role of state-owned enterprise and capital funds in the economy, to the emergence of new forms of public ownership overturning privatisation in many places. This chapter critically appraises the return of public ownership and its wider significance to a project to a more progressive alternative economics. It is particularly concerned with the potential for a new wave of public ownership to create democratic forms of economy out of the crisis of neoliberal governance, whilst avoiding the failings of older hierarchical anti-democratic projects of nationalisation and state management in the twentieth century.

 

PAPER 7
Author: Louise Haagh

Professional affiliation: University of York

Title of proposed paper: Elements of and Transitions to a Post-Neo-Liberal Human Development State

Abstract: This paper considers elements and transitions to a Post-Neoliberal welfare state from an institutionalist political economy perspective. Reworking the literature on Varieties of Capitalism, it argues democratisation of human economy plays a key role in coherent governance. Human Development States can be shown to be more responsive to pre-political developmental and integrity interests in human-centred regulatory approaches to development. It is argued that reconstituting developmentally coherent governance and polities is a democratisation project, which requires careful navigation between elements of the embedded postwar welfare state and innovative policies which repair its flaws, such as include a failure to anchor developmental policies in a framework of generic rights, and a subordination of social to economic policy. Innovative institutional approaches in this context centre on building welfare and occupation-based policies as commons. Set within a wider developmental governance framework, institutional reforms linked with basic income can play a pivoting role, under certain conditions.

 

PAPER 8
Author: Simon Deakin

Professional affiliation: University of Cambridge, UK

Title of proposed paper: Employment and Wage Policies in a Post- Neoliberal World

Abstract: This paper argues that there is abundant evidence linking relative inequality to negative health outcomes and to a loss of trust in public institutions.  Causation runs both ways because institutional weakness makes it more difficult to redress the inequalities, which market societies tend to produce.   Part of the problem is that in the period of dominance of neoliberal policies, the reduction of inequality has not been pursued as a goal of public policy in its own right.  This can, and should be, reversed by policies aimed explicitly at reducing wage and income inequalities.  The legal framework should actively support sectoral collective bargaining, solidaristic forms of social insurance, progressivity in taxation, and worker and customer ownership of enterprise.  While collective action problems inevitably arise in any attempt to re-regulate the labour market, these can be addressed through a combination of democratisation of ownership and reform of the institutions of economic governance.

 



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