"You can't fix systemic problems at the unit level."
Hail to Thee, Blyth Spirit
Mark Blyth, the people’s economist, to the rescue. We’ve got tribulations of money and power to be decoded, in what can feel like wartime. Sanctions or penalties for the warfare make economic waves, too. Inflation spiking, recession coming. China rising, as always, and now our mortgage rates heading up sharply; the world economy in complex transition. Trend lines point to de-globalization of supply chains and trade, a suspension of easy money, a dizzy disenchantment with billionaires everywhere. Mark Blyth is the guest you remember: how’s to forget the Scots brogue in quick-time, the immigrant idealism, the working-class loyalty in the son of a butcher from Dundee?
What we’re talking about is money and power, meaning the political economy we all live in, with some anxiety. Mark Blyth is our authority—professor of political economy at Brown University—and he’s the noisy know-it-all with the working-class Scottish accent in our virtual pub conversation on Open Source. He’s revered around here for his mastery of (a) markets and (b) the vernacular that makes money and power a plausible story for the rest of us. Mark brings an understudy this time, our sometime colleague Brendan Greeley, who has just stepped away from finance journalism to pursue his Ph.D. in economics at Princeton. The news, so-called, this Fourth of July week is not encouraging: consumer “sentiment,” according to the Wall Street Journal, is as low as it’s been since the recovery from World War II; the world’s biggest economy is slowing down, inflation spiking to a 40 year peak, interest rates on mortgages heading up, sure to slow construction and home sales. Those are the headlines. The mood in the pub is something else.
This is the concluding installment of In Search of Monsters, our limited-series collaboration with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
Political economist at Brown.
Finance journalist and Ph.D. candidate at Princeton.