Monday, July 10, 2023

Mark Blyth - Angrynomics and the Broad Ownership of Assets among Americans

 Mark Blyth - Angrynomics and the Broad Ownership of Assets among Americans

Mark Blyth

In 2016 a Political Economist and the Director of the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance, within the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, at Brown University predicted that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election. Despite the fact that nearly every poll and the broadly held belief in political circles was that Clinton would win in a rout.

That lone voice was the voice of Mark Blyth.

At the time, economists and pundits both looked at Blyth's prediction as a humorous anecdote they could toss into their various presentations about the upcoming election. They soon would be consuming large quantities of CROW.

In the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump, Blyth was seen as prescient and his theories that wove together economics and historic trends and precedents were suddenly highly sought after.

To Blyth, the growing disparty of wealth was a potent driver in the growing divisions infecting the body politic and a systemic existential threat to democracy.

But Mark Blyth had not only seen the danger ahead.  As they say these days - he brought the receipts.

In fact, the savage inequality of wealth that had developed in America in the years beginning in the mid 1970s - a topic that had only been an afterthought in the minds of policymakers and academics, was suddenly an alarming and potent driver in a crisis that suddenly was on nearly everyone's radar.

Now, Mark Blyth gives credit to Thomas Pickety for highlighting the problem of wealth disparity, but anyone who has read Pickety's "Capital" and then watched any one of a hundred YouTube presentations by Blyth will see that Mark Blyth is the Carl Sagan of economics. Making the topics that usually cause the public's eyes to glaze over understandable, and approachable, dare I say, even fun.

In a few short years Blyth has become one of the most important thought leaders, not only here in America but internationally.

His wry sense of humor makes him a much-appreciated speaker. In fact, I've often said he has a second career in Stand-Up should he ever decide to change course. He's also the kind of guy you'd want to have a beer with, or a glass of bourbon. Or, in my case, the kind of guy you'd want to jam with late into the evening.

Spirit Buffalo in a Painted Sky Originals    Open Edition Prints

But what makes Blyth's findings and observations so much more powerful is that he weaves his findings into pragmatic and innovative ideas that bridge the divides between ideologies and strikes deep into the heart of the toxic tribalism that is infecting us, and he has broadened his message and research to encompass other critical problems like the need to question our assumptions about austerity and the need to address the climate crisis. 

 In short, Mark Blyth is, to my mind, A Radical Centrist, seeking innovative and practical solutions outside of the ideological bonds that too often separate us from one another.

Mark Blyth often quotes John Maynard Keynes in his presentations when he says "The problem is not a lack of new ideas, it is our inability to escape from the old ones." In fact the Watson Center's Website highlights this when they write:

"Mark Blyth is a political economist whose research focuses upon how uncertainty and randomness impact complex systems, particularly economic systems, and why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets of evidence to the contrary. "

His most recent and - to my mind - most important book, written with his co-author Eric Lonergan, is "Angrynomics." We spent a good deal of our time in this conversation on the book because I feel strongly that this is one of the most important books of the last decade on the subject of wealth disparity. It is also written in a fashion that makes their ideas easily understood and approachable.

I'm grateful that he was willing to share his time with us. Here's my conversation with Mark Blyth.

My thanks to Mark Blyth for joining us on this special "Rediscovering Our Song" episode of The Radical Centrist Podcast.

and my thanks to BOTH Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth for writing this important book: Angrynomics.

If you have not yet read Angrynomics - or even better - listened to it on Audible, I can't possibly recommend it more strongly. There are two compelling reasons for this:

  1. It offers a cogent explanation of the problems that we face, and the reasons why we are so deeply divided.
  2. It offers real and practical ideas for bridging the divides; for creating systemic changes that could help heal those wounds.

In short after reading Angrynomics you will feel a sense of hope for the future. A sense that there is a path forward that leads to greater freedom, greater civility, a broader ownership of economic assets that gives all of us a real stake in our future.

Wonalancet Mindscape
Signed Originals      Open Edition Prints

3 Features that Blyth and Lonergan emphasize when focusing on ideas for reducing wealth disparity:
  1. Must make a big difference.
  2. Simple and Explainable
  3. Cut across traditional political and ideological lines. Allowing it to be sustainable across electoral cycles. An interesting example of this is Social Security. 

Other notes and links

Original Signed Art          Open edition

Wonalancet Mindscape
Signed Originals      Open Edition Prints

Finding Our Way
Signed Originals      Open Edition Prints

Beyond the Hedge at Ms Rumphius' House
Signed Originals      Open Edition Prints

Spirit Boulder at Livermore
Signed Originals      Open Edition Prints

A Glow on the Roaring Fork River
Signed Originals       Open Edition Print     

Till The Cows Come Home
Signed Originals     Open edition Prints   

Longview Pumpkins and Flowers
Signed Originals      Open Edition Prints

Our Time Comes
Signed Original 16x24   8x12     Open Edition Prints

I See the Way
Signed Originals      Open Edition Prints

Wind on the Floodplain Forest Floor
Signed Original Prints         Open edition Prints

Spirit Pony in an Old Soul