Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Conversation About Economic Growth with Equity--Manifesto for A New Discussion Group

I mention Brad DeLong a lot around here.  Sometimes it seems like I read nothing else.  I do.  But I find DeLong the most engaging, challenging, and fruitful public intellectual on my radar screen in the area of political and historical macroeconomics.  He is now affiliated with a new venture, a discussion group to keep an eye on.  Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Here is Brad DeLong's explanation for signing up:
Let me try to bring four things together.
  1.  The coming of the internet has created at least the potential for a much better public-sphere conversation on economic policy than we had a generation ago. .... 
  2. We, as of yet, do not have such a public-sphere conversation. At best, the conversation resembles a soccer game of seven-year-olds--twenty people in a huddle kicking the ball in random directions, with few people playing their positions and focusing on what is truly important.
  3. Over the past generation our politics and policy making has arguably degenerated. It is now clearly inadequate. We no longer (if we ever did) have a bipartisan technocratic center with serious votes committed to economic growth, equal opportunity, and an efficient well-functioning government that can tack left or right as necessary to assemble legislative coalitions to support good governance.           
  4. Where the conversation has been guided, it has been directed in directions that I, at least, think are unhelpful. ... Peter Peterson and company have driven the budgetary conversation to focus on entitlement cuts rather than entitlement right-sizing, right-funding, and right-managing. ....
  5. Taking these things together, it seems to me that it would be a good idea if I signed on to this Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and tried to drive the conversation to what is important.  
My promise to you: If you share our interest in public policy that leads to growth-with-equity—and would like to see a 21st century that is an American Century--in a these-are-people-to-emulate rather than we-fear-their-drones-and-their-blackmail sense—then:       
  1.   We are going to be disciplined: we will not publish so much under this heading that you either drown or fob us off to an aggregator.
  2.   Everything we publish will be important for you to read if you are interested in equitable growth (and you really should be).
  3. We won't try to get you to read what we write when somebody else has written it better—we will link instead.
  4.  We will try to make sure that we always do our homework.
  5.  We will try to bring to your attention people who think differently than we do and who have done their homework, are not engaged in intellectual three-card-monte, and are being smart.
Let us try to focus our conversation on what is truly important, for all of our sakes.
 It's a manifesto I can subscribe to.  

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