George Soros, the fund manager, has pledged $50m to back a new think-tank with the mission of reconceiving the field of economics, which he describes as “a dogma whose time has passed”.
The group, to be called the Institute of New Economic Thinking, will gather luminaries in the field of economics to reflect on the ideas that allowed the latest economic crisis to transpire and to bring new ideas to a profession that some argue has become too deeply entrenched in free-market ideology.
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The group’s advisory board will be studded with economists such as Jeffrey Sachs, George Akerlof, Kenneth Rogoff and Joseph Stiglitz as well as public commentators such as Anatole Kaletsky and John Kay, a Financial Times columnist. Mr Soros is pledging $5m a year for 10 years.
Mr Soros, who has long been a critic of economic “fundamentalism”, blames the unwavering belief in unchecked free markets, which remains pervasive in universities, for allowing financial markets and asset prices to melt down.
Through INET, he will be indirectly funding his philosophy of “reflexivity” – that markets tend to influence perceptions of reality, which in turn feed back into markets.