A New Economics for A New Economy

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by Noel Ortega

Type: Video [title]
Published May, 2013

A New Economics for a New Economy

A life serving New Economy requires the support of a science and values based New Economics to provide the institutional models and policy tools essential to implementation.

Thursday, May 30, 2013 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM ET (11-1:00pm PT)

New Economy Transition Webinar Series 

Co-Sponsored by 
the New Economy Working Group and 
the New Economics Institute
 (Audio starts at 00:11)

Download the minutes.


In a recent public forum at Union Theological Seminary organized by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stiglitz referred to economics as a faith based religion. With support of the New Economics Institute, university students across the United States and Canada are organizing to challenge the intellectual legitimacy and relevance of conventional economics courses.

Contextual and Ecological Economics are among several sub-disciplines that are challenging the old paradigm of financial economics (aka neoliberal or market fundamentalist economics).

It has long been evident to some that the economic theories most solidly entrenched in academic and policy circles lack scientific and moral foundation and bear major responsibility for an economic system that self-organizes toward economic instability, extreme inequality, environmental destruction, and political corruption. The intellectual fallacies include, but go far beyond, the assumption of infinite growth on a finite planet. To date, however, the powerful interests served by these theories have easily deflected criticism, in part because there is no recognized alternative set of theories and tools to guide economic teaching and policymaking.

There are signs of a public readiness to demand a serious re-thinking and re-tooling as the failures of existing theory and practice become increasingly evident. 

This NET session will explore the following questions:

  • Is this a moment of opportunity to expose financial economics as a failed faith based ideology posing as a science? What are the most promising openings and compelling arguments for serious change?

  • What would be the essential characteristics of a life-serving new economics paradigm grounded in scientific fact and perennial moral principles? What are the critical barriers to its development and how might we overcome those barriers?

  • As one example, where has ecological economics gone wrong in its effort to provide a viable alternative? What are the lessons from this experience for those who now seek to create a true new paradigm economics?

  • Neva Goodwin refers to a research finding that those students who are morally or intellectually offended by the “only selfishness is rational” lessons drummed into them in economics courses quit studying economics, while those who have a higher tolerance for rules regardless of reality stay on. Does your experience confirm this conclusion and if so what are the implications for efforts to create a new economics for a new economy?


Welcome and Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Moderator John Cavanagh, Director, Institute for Policy Studies, and Co-Chair, New Economy Working Group.
  • Short overview of the New Economy Transition discussion seminars (John Cavanagh).
Discussion Starters (6 minutes each)

1. David Korten, Board Chair YES! Magazine and Co-Chair, New Economy Working Group. Author Agenda for a New Economy and When Corporations Rule the World. Former Harvard Business School faculty.

2. Neva R. Goodwin, Co-Director, Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University. Involved in variety of efforts to synthesize and institutionalize a “contextual economics” with real world relevance and to insert these perspectives into economics texts and courses.
3. Jon D. Erickson, Professor and Interim Dean, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Fellow of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. Past-President of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics.
4. Peter Brown, Professor, McGill School of Environment, Department of Geography, & Department of Natural Resources. Currently organizing a collaborative partnership of academic and non-academic institutions to advance the creation and application of a trans-disciplinary science-based ecological economics.
5. Robert Johnson, Executive Director, Institute for New Economic Thinking and senior Fellow and Director, Global Finance Project, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. Former Managing Director at Soros Fund Management and Bankers Trust Company and former Chief Economist, US Senate Banking Committee.

Open Discussion (80 minutes)

  • The conversation will be open to every participant for comments and questions.
  • We will attempt to do a few "rounds" of questions and comments 

Wrap-up and Next Steps (10 minutes)

  • Upcoming NET sessions
  • Follow-up steps for this session.