Neoclassical economic theory is deeply flawed, at best it is woefully incomplete, at worst it’s most basic assumptions are so incorrect as to render it next to worthless. Neoclassical economics has fueled everything from neoliberalism to financialization, it has led to faulty approaches to education, health care, and basic business practices. This is the dominant economic school of thought for the last 40 years. How many of you knew it existed? Who knew economics has different schools of thought?
It seceded Keynesian economics in the 1970s when stagflation proved too great a challenge for it to overcome. Neoclassical economic theory stepped in to fill the void. It had been waiting in the wings for years, fostered in think tanks supported by big businesses. Arguably it restored economic growth to the world in the 1980s and 90s or more likely the economy adjusted and recovered over time. That’s probably what happened post Great Depression too, Keynesian economic policies did not, on their own, spawn the greatest period of global economic growth in history.
The Great Recession and the sluggish economic recovery that has followed should have broken the back of neoclassical economics. It certainly spawned some serious thought and criticism of neoclassical economics. But no theory was around to replace it and you can’t beat something with nothing. At least there was no theory with political support. Instead we got rehashed Keynesianism from the left in the form of democratic socialism and the right was happy to bring up the Austrian school again. That was futile of course because we continued to elect neoclassicists rather than bring back old economic thinking.
There are actually new ideas ready to take their place in mainstream policymaking but the institutional rigidity of neoclassical economics has warded them off (not that neoclassical thought acknowledges institutional power). You’ll hear many economists say economics is apolitical and amoral. I believe for many they try to keep it that way but I recognize that economics is tied invariably to how we organize ourself as a society be it through government, politics, morality, or what have you. For our future we must recognize the intertwined nature of economics and government. That’s actually why I am running.
I am running to bring new economic thinking into politics, specifically Ohio politics because I think we can really capitalize on this before the rest of the country and world catches on. The type of economic thinking I have to offer is some mixture of complexity, evolutionary, and institutional economics. For simplicity I’ll refer to it as complexity economics. Complexity economics is how we beat the neoclassical paradigm and reverse our long period of economic and political decay. We can end financialization, make health care that works, revolutionize education, save the environment, and massively grow the economy all while making government leaner.
Yeah, that sounds like I’m promising a lot but clearly economics has a lot of power in the world, just look what neoclassical economics did to it. For a taste of how complexity economics can manifest itself in policy, I direct you to my platform. But that’s just a start. We need to bring complexity economic thinking to all levels of business and government. Truthfully this is what matters to me, bringing complexity economics to the mainstream.
I am so sick of hearing the same arguments between Democrats and Republicans that boil down to just how much or how little money we want to throw at failed programs. A bloated centralized government is not the answer and neither is a market society where the government is just a tool for cronyism and rent seeking. I would not be happier to lose if it meant that my opponents had adopted complexity economics. I mean good lord, talk about something new. You’ve had this argument for 40 years and we haven’t gotten anywhere! This is the future, this is what Ohio needs now. This is actually an urgent matter given that we’ve fixed nothing that caused the 2008 economic collapse and we’ve probably made it worse. Not to mention that budding trade war and a country that is so divided on partisan lines (lines drawn based partially on neoclassical economic theory) that it verges on sectarianism. I’m not saying I have the answer to everything here but I basically am.