This website is a resource for those who believe that early 19th century economic ideas do not work for a 21st century economy. For the last thirty years, U.S. policy debates have been dominated by the market oriented ideas of Malthus and Ricardo that emerged in the first decades of the 19th century. These ideas, refined in the 20th century by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, and which we label “market fundamentalism”, insist that the government should allow the private economy to regulate itself by the laws of the market. It is this theory that lies behind thirty years of right-wing attacks on taxation, regulation, and government provision of services.
We intend to show that these obsolete ideas are both wrong and destructive. However, our focus is not simply to critique market fundamentalism. We also document and analyze the processes involved in the “innovation economy” that is being built through new forms of cooperation among government agencies, researchers in universities, government laboratories, and private businesses. This new innovation economy – both in the U.S. and in its leading global competitors – is powerful proof of the obsolescence of market fundamentalist ideas. Through an understanding of the interworkings of actually existing governmental and economic institutions, our ultimate goal is to construct a new paradigm of economic and social policies that would bring shared prosperity, social justice, and a renewal of our endangered global environment.
The name of this project, Great Transformations, is a tribute to Karl Polanyi, the mid 20th century theorist whose seminal book, The Great Transformation, lays out a powerful and resonant critique of market fundamentalism. We believe that by building on Polanyi’s ideas, we can contribute to the next great transformation
- New Book on U.S. Innovation Policy
- A new book on the government role in the U.S. innovation economy has been published by Paradigm Publishers. State of Innovation: The U.S. Government's Role in Technology Development, brings together a cross-disciplinary group of scholars who document, assess, and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the decentralized network of government programs and policies that foster technological innovation. In the process, the contributors collectively offer new insights for designing flexible, effective and efficient technology policies that fit a 21st century economy.
- Thinking about a New Paradigm for Industrial Policy in the U.S.
- In a new article in Politics & Society, Andrew Schrank and Josh Whitford examine conventional wisdom concerning industrial policy in the U.S., and argue that the increasingly decentralized nature of production calls for a new approach to governance.
- CSPO/CATF Report: Innovation Policy for Climate Change
- How can innovation policies accelerate the development and deployment of technologies that meet the interlinked energy and climate change challenges? An engaging new report by the Consortium for Science and Policy Outcomes (CSPO) and the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) suggests an array of reforms needed to effectively take advantage of an extremely complex, decentralized innovation system in which innovations typically "bubble up" from an array of technology directions.
- New Report on Innovation Policy in a Time of Crisis
- How can the Obama administration use a new stimulus package to enhance federal innovation policies - thus pushing the American economy forward in a time of economic crisis? A new White Paper, written by Fred Block and Matthew R. Keller, addresses how to implement "stim-novation" policies that foster economic recovery as well as longer-term economic growth.
- Where do Innovations Come From?
- In a working paper released by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, Fred Block and Matthew Keller use a unique data set of award-winning innovative technologies to argue that the nature of the U.S. innovation system has changed dramatically over the last 40 years. While in the 1970s winners of the R&D 100 awards were dominated by large corporations acting alone, in recent years over two-thirds of the winners have come from collaborations involving business and government, including federal labs and federally-funded university research.
- America's Stealth Industrial Policy
- In a new article posted on the Miller-McCune website, Prof. Fred Block argues that the dominant political rhetoric on the value of "free markets" has helped to obscure the key role of the U.S. government in stimulating innovative technologies and economic development.