Billionaire George Soros — a financier of various left-wing causes — this week promised $50 million for a new foundation that will tout alternatives to what he call “free-market fundamentalism."
“The ideologists in the free markets are still in command and I think they’ll be very difficult to remove because they have tenure,” Soros told the Financial Times.
Dubbed the Institute of New Economic Thinking, the new foundation will assemble luminaries’ economists to ponder the ideas that allowed the latest economic crisis to occur and to bring new ideas to counter free-market ideology.
The foundation’s advisory board will be filled with economists like Jeffrey Sachs, George Akerlof, Kenneth Rogoff and Joseph Stiglitz as well as opinion-makers like Anatole Kaletsky and John Kay. Soros has pledged $5 million a year for a decade.
“I think that the financial crisis has proven that is unrealistic,” Soros said of the prevailing economics theories, which assume that people behave rationally.
“The dogma has lost touch with reality.”
American businesses are not taking this criticism of the free market lightly.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the belief in the free market has been challenged by the recession. But the chamber is running TV commercials now touting the virtues of the free enterprise system.
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