Financier George Soros has contributed $50 million to the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Its work reached an inflection point last weekend when hundreds of the economic policy elite gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Bretton Woods is where the world leaders met and constituted a post-war world monetary order. This choice reflected the aspiration to bring order out of what clearly is monetary policy anarchy.
It is easy to disparage Soros for grandiosity. In The Alchemy of Finance, he wrote: “To put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god or an economic reformer like Keynes…. As I made my way in the world, reality came close enough to my fantasy to allow me to admit my secret, at least to myself.”
But disparagement is cheap. Whatever passionate opposition some of Soros’s prescriptions have drawn, including from this writer, he generously contributed billions of dollars to helping the people of Eastern Europe make the successful transition from totalitarian communism to free markets and democracy.
There is poignancy to a man who fancies himself as “some kind of god” in a world where godlike management of the world so demonstrably fails. While the gods congregate in New Olympuses like Davos the real action has returned to … us mortals.
The Institute for New Economic Thinking presents itself as befuddled. In its “Why INET?” it states, “ Regulators are fallible and market participants frequently fall below the standard of being perfectly rational.”
It seems to come as some kind of revelation to the godlike that to err is human. Where, then to turn? Early reports from Bretton Woods II seem to indicate a kind of intellectual paralysis.
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