Glen Weyl presents “Radical Markets” (co-written with E. Posner) at the Brussels’ campus of KU Leuven

Prof. Glen Weyl (Microsoft Research & Princeton University) will present his book “Radical Markets”, co-written by Prof. Eric Posner

Tuesday 4 December 2018 Glen Weyl, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Visiting Senior Research Scholar at Yale’s Law School and Economics Department, will present at the Brussels’ campus of KU Leuven his book “Radical Markets“, co-written with Eric Posner (University of Chicago).

The Economist called this book “(A)n arresting if eccentric manifesto for rebooting liberalism…the policies they advocate…may help jolt liberals out of their hand-wringing, and shape a new line of market-oriented thinking, as Milton Friedman’s ‘Capitalism and Freedom’ did…refreshing and welcome in its willingness to question received wisdom…(L)iberals must find some antidote to populism and protectionism. A little outlandishness may be necessary.” Nobel Prize laureat Jean Tirole commented: “Whether you are convinced by the specific proposals or not, your confidence in your worldview may well be shattered by the depth and originality of the analysis.

The authors themselves present their book as follows:

“The ideas we present in the book would radically change many features of our society. You might naturally ask why we believe such fundamental change is necessary and whether it isn’t more dangerous to take a step into the unknown than to maintain our institutions that have generated relative stability. At one level we agree, and all of our ideas have narrow, cautious initial applications. However, we believe that wealthy countries are at a moment of fundamental crisis that threatens the legitimacy and stability of our values and institutions. Unless we can inspire a new generation with a productive vision for the future, we believe the coming years hold great peril for wealthy societies.

The crisis we perceived has three components. First, inequality within wealthy countries, and in particular the US and UK, has been growing dramatically with especially the share of national income going to workers falling. “Neo-liberals” like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher promised that in exchange for such inequality their “trickle down” economics would stimulate growth and create jobs. Yet, second, at the same time economic and productivity growth rates have fallen dramatically and employment has declined. This combination of inequality and stagnation, which we call “stagnequality”, has largely discredited existing economic policy in the eyes of much of the public. At the same time, democratic politics has struggled to respond to conflicts between minorities and majorities within countries, as well as those between international cooperation and national sovereignty, leading to increasingly polarized politics. Responding to both these crises of legitimacy, dangerous and incompetent populist leaders and policies have become prominent and threaten hard-won social progress. Together we call these events the “crisis of the liberal order”.

To respond to this crisis, we look back to a nineteenth-century tradition, led by thinkers like Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Henry George, Léon Walras and Beatrice Webb. These self-styled “Radicals” inspired political movements from the American Progressive Movement to Sun Yat-Sen’s Nationalist revolution in China with their ideas that saw free, open and competitive markets as a force that could emancipate societies from feudal prejudices and privileges. While many of their ideas were neglected during the conflicts of the Cold War, they were further developed in the ivory tower by thinkers like Nobel Laureate William Vickrey and used to design auctions for advertising slots on webpages and the radio spectrum. In Radical Markets, we revive this Radical tradition and show how it can address the crisis of the liberal order.”

The programme of the presentation in Brussels:

14.30: Welcome by Steven Vanackere
(academic director of KU Leuven, Brussels Campus and former Minister of Finance)

14.40: Introduction of the speaker by Prof. Patrick Van Cayseele
(former Associate Dean for Research Affairs, FEB, KU Leuven)

14.50: Lecture by Prof. Glen Weyl
(Microsoft Research & Princeton University)

15:40: Q&A session

16.00: Reception and book signing session

Venue: KU Leuven Brussels Campus, Stormstraat 2, B-1000 Brussels, Room 6306 (Multimedia room Paternoster).

Sterling Books will sell copies of the book and the author will hold a signing session. Registration is free but compulsory. Please register here.

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