Sponsors Conference on Macroeconomics
June 20-23, 2002, about 20 innovative thinkers came
together to discuss new directions for macroeconomic
theory and policy at the conference, "Rethinking
Macroeconomics," held at the Pocantico Conference
Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The conference
was the first step toward the creation of a new, college-level,
introductory macroeconomics textbook, Macroeconomics
in Context, which is the companion to the
in Context. These texts develop the contextual
economics approach, which analyzes economic issues
within the physical contexts of environment and technology,
and the social/psychological contexts of human motivations,
culture, social norms, history, politics, and institutions.
papers presented at the Rethinking Macroeconomics
conference are available in New
Thinking in Macroeconomics (Edward Elgar,
2004). This book can be used in a variety of courses,
where it can illustrate the lessons for macroeconomic
theory from important issues including international
capital flows, the role of the Federal Reserve
Board in the U.S., the European welfare state
model, the housing market and homelessness, as
well as tensions between environmental constraints
and macroeconomic growth.
Conference participants: (standing, from left
to right) Nahid Aslanbeigui, Brian Roach, Julie
Nelson, Frank Ackerman, Michele Naples, Peter
Dorman, Doreen Isenberg, Tom Weisskopf, Jonathan
Harris, David Ellerman, Steve Cohn, Randall
Wray, (seated, from left to right) Bruce Mazlish,
Hugh Stretton, Neva Goodwin, Anne Mayhew. Missing
from the photo are David Howell and Lance Taylor.
topics discussed by conference participants included:
and International Macroeconomic Relations. Papers
by Paul Streeten, Nahid
Aslanbegui, and Michelle Naples
addressed the altered nature of macroeconomic
policy in a globalized world. Streeten emphasized
the lack of effective institutional structures
to manage global financial flows, and the uneven
benefits and costs of globalization. Aslanbeigui
and Naples addressed issues of instability and
crisis in the global economy, and reviewed the
historical basis for policy paradigms that provide
Institutions and Policies. Lance
Taylor discussed the role of debt and
deficits in U.S. macroeconomic policy, emphasizing
the unsustainability of continuing large foreign
deficits. David Ellerman, presenting
a paper written jointly with Joseph Stiglitz,
criticized the shock therapy approach
for economic transition in Russia and Eastern
Europe, and proposed more sustainable institutional
reform and restructuring. Anne Mayhew
focused on monetary policy, comparing different
analyses of the potential and limits of monetary
policy for macroeconomic stabilization.
Distribution and Equity. David Howell
examined the sources of income inequality
and unemployment, criticizing the commonly held
view that labor market institutions which protect
workers also contribute to higher unemployment,
and citing extensive European and U.S. data to
show that effective worker protection, low inequality,
and low unemployment are not incompatible. Randall
Wray reviewed the impacts of U.S. macroeconomic
expansion on employment, arguing that many low-income
workers are left behind even by apparently robust
expansions. Doreen Isenberg explored
the connections between macroeconomic policies
and housing markets, suggesting that financial
globalization has undermined policies promoting
Growth and the Environment. Peter
Dorman presented an analysis of the relationship
between developing country debt and deforestation,
supporting the thesis that more highly indebted
countries tend to suffer higher rates of forest
loss. Neva Goodwin and
Jonathan Harris posed the question of
whether macroeconomic growth is compatible with
environmental sustainability, citing evidence
on energy use, transportation, and agriculture
to indicate the pressures of rising per capita
consumption on the environment
Presenters and Paper Topics:
Professor Emeritus, Boston University, former Special
Adviser to the World Bank "Paradoxes
Professor of Economics, Monmouth University
"Global System Instability"
Naples, Associate Professor, College of New Jersey
"International Institutional Framework"
Arnhold Professor of International Cooperation and
Development, New School University "U.S.
former Economic Adviser to the Chief Economist of
the World Bank, and Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief
Economist of the World Bank "Institutional
Reform in Transitional Economies"
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate
Studies, University of Tennessee "Evolution
of Monetary Policy in the U.S"
Professor at the Robert Milano Graduate School,
New School University "Earnings Inequality
and Unemployment in the U.S. and Europe"
Professor of Economics and Senior Research Associate,
Center for Full Employment and Price Stability,
University of Missouri, Kansas City "Employment
in the Clinton-era Expansion"
Professor of Economics, Drew University "Financial
Globalization and Housing Policy"
Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington
"Developing Country Debt and Deforestation"
Harris and Neva Goodwin, Global Development and
Environment Institute, Tufts University "Macroeconomic
Growth and the Environment"