Let me know when you develop a replacement

Here’s the NYT:

A group of philanthropists and academics say it is time for a new set of ideas to guide the economy. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network announced on Wednesday that they were committing more than $41 million to economic and policy research focused on alternatives.

“Neoliberalism is dead, but we haven’t developed a replacement,” said Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation.

I eagerly await the new model. Will I live to see it? (I’m 66)



24 Responses to “Let me know when you develop a replacement”

  1. Gravatar of MSS1914 MSS1914
    18. February 2022 at 10:55

    “Neoliberalism is dead”

    Was it ever really alive? The popular narrative that in the late 70’s we returned to some “new” form of the classical liberal world seems silly to me.

    The regulatory and administrative apparatuses that the western world began developing in the late 19th Century (the progressive movements) and that replaced the classical liberal system, has never truly been in retreat. If anything, they have constantly been expanding in scope and power.

    What am I missing here? Why do so many people believe we have been living in some sort of free market/libertarian world for the last 40 years?

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. February 2022 at 11:17

    MSS1914, You are partly right. But there was a meaningful reduction in economic regulations and state ownership after 1980. Also big cuts in top marginal tax rates and freer trade in almost all countries.

    On the other hand, government spending did not fall.

    If you are interested, google my “The Great Danes” paper.

  3. Gravatar of Brett Brett
    18. February 2022 at 13:41

    I don’t think we have the robotics yet for Robot Communism, although it would be interesting if it led to more research into cooperative business ventures and so forth.

  4. Gravatar of Mark Z Mark Z
    18. February 2022 at 13:41

    If it’s any consolation, you’ve probably already seen it. The ‘new’ ideas in question will almost certainly just be recycled old ideas that failed a long time ago but everyone forgot. I think it may just be the long-term equilibrium for advanced societies to have to retry socialism every 50 years or so to remind themselves that it doesn’t work.

  5. Gravatar of Dzhaughn Dzhaughn
    18. February 2022 at 18:05

    How much social media presence for MMT can $41M buy?

  6. Gravatar of Francesca Tate Francesca Tate
    18. February 2022 at 20:15

    Mark Z
    Except socialism is a modern idea and system.
    Crazy that capitalism can introduce innovations but is immune to innovations itself.

  7. Gravatar of MSS1914 MSS1914
    18. February 2022 at 20:40

    Scott, interesting paper; thank you for pointing me to it. My comment was perhaps too exaggerated. You make a convincing point that there was a noticeable liberalization in some government policies around the world 40 years ago.

    Maybe that era wasn’t just some hiccup in a longer trend of increasing state power and control, but I’m pessimistic about that. Your paper had a great quote from Orwell praising socialism and it being the key to ending the Great Depression – he was wrong. I’m reminded of another quote from his book 1984:

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

    Let’s hope he was wrong about that too.

  8. Gravatar of Rinat Rinat
    19. February 2022 at 00:36

    If the replacement is corporate stakeholderism, propogated by Schwab, then count me out.

    The real replacement already exists, but it doesn’t give you the “control” you want so you continue to ignore it.

    History will remember Hayek, not you.

    And history will realize he was right. You simply want to prop up the banks, which is why you advocate for the fed and are now trying to control crypto.

    That market intervnetion will never end well.

  9. Gravatar of nick nick
    19. February 2022 at 03:22

    Nah, little thugboy sumtard aint going be making us join his stakeholder capitalism commie peodophilia totalitarian ring of la losers.

    We already have our sites set on him & the dark vader schwab. They’ll both be like Hitler, in their little totalitarian bunkers, praying for us to go away. But we aint. So put the bullet in your own head, or go to jail. Liberty will win.


  10. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    19. February 2022 at 08:09

    Has there ever been a period of rising asset prices like what we have experienced since the Great Recession? Even monopoly money has risen to $1.5 trillion. I make the point, often, that rising asset prices is the new idea for prosperity. Sumner makes the point, often, that rising asset prices is the result of prosperity not the cause of prosperity. Powell faces a daunting task: tame rising consumer prices without causing falling asset prices. Thus far he has threatened to raise interest rates if wages (consumer prices) continue to rise hoping to discourage rising wages. It may work. Eventually workers will have spent the pandemic relief and supply chains will be restored. But if Powell does raise interest rates and asset prices tumble, or if Putin actually invades Ukraine causing interest rates to soar and asset prices to tumble, the new idea for prosperity could be history. Thus relieving Sumner of the burden of learning something new at age 66.

  11. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    19. February 2022 at 10:07

    This is from the NYT, but doesn’t it really belong in The Onion?

    “Wages have been stagnant for most Americans for decades. Inequality has increased sharply. Globalization and technology have enriched some, but also fueled job losses and impoverished communities.”

    It’s the same old scam. (A kernel of truth, but mostly lying by omission).

    The “funding for research” thing is laugh out loud funny, it’s funding for marketing (for their dumb ideas – they already know what “the replacement” is, that’s obvious).

    At least the RWers pushing their own version of this scam don’t try to insult our intelligence in this fashion, maybe because they’re not imaginative enough to come up with angles like this.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. February 2022 at 11:02

    MSS1914, I suspect that Orwell quote will be correct from our perspective (if we could see the future) and wrong from the perspective of the future. They will welcome totalitarianism.

    Anon, You always make me feel out of touch. What is RWers?

  13. Gravatar of Classical Liberal Classical Liberal
    19. February 2022 at 11:59



    “MSS1914, I suspect that Orwell quote will be correct from our perspective (if we could see the future) and wrong from the perspective of the future. They will welcome totalitarianism.”

    Is by far the most depressing thing you’ve ever written. Question for you: if totalitarianism is a “historical inevitability” , how did liberalism come about at all? Why didn’t we go straight from Feudalism or rule by the Church to modern state totalitarianism? Why the detour? And, relatedly, how in the world did NEOliberalism come about? In 1933, it surely looked even more like some form of totalitarianism was our destiny. But it wasn’t. Why not?

  14. Gravatar of Henry Henry
    20. February 2022 at 03:53

    The replacement has already come. It’s called chicks with dicks.


    Despite the wack Marxists screaming “imminent”, Russia will not attack.

    But they should! We’ve gone from placing kids on riddlin, to castrating them within two decades. It’s a nasty kind of tyranny. Too many poor losers at watered-down academies, who need to feed themselves on their tiny checks – so they moonlight as medical quack pscyhologists telling kids they should question their sexuality and take hormones at age 5.

    Hell, I might even move my 15M to Moscow. Could be confiscated by one of the petty tryants like Biden, Trudeau, or Sumner. Democracy now means “everyone must think the same, or else”.


  15. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    20. February 2022 at 07:42

    Replacement theories—-only 41 mil—-what a bargain.

    To what extent is our economy “neo-liberal”? Not sure. For example, Medicare, Medicaid and SS equals 9% of GDP, but 50% of Federal Spending—that seems, to me at least, relatively (key word) benign.

    But spending seems like the smallest part by far of “non-neoliberalism”. By far the largest impact on our economy is regulation. Regulation theoretically is consistent with neoliberalism——but it’s the magnitude of it which make counter to neoliberalism.

    Cato claims if the amount of regulation were fixed at 1980 levels relative to economy’s size, our GDP would be 25% higher today. That is $5.5 trillion a year as of today. Other studies by The Government range from close to zero—-due to benefits——to 1 trillion

    I have no idea of course other than some kind of self generated heuristic, but my belief is that the numbers are huge——like CATO’s or worse.

    Before we spend a bargain basement price of 41 mill to invent a new economy—-maybe we should actually try neoliberalism

  16. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    20. February 2022 at 13:28

    “Anon, You always make me feel out of touch. What is RWers?”

    Right-wingers. I thought LWer and RWer had become common abbreviations – maybe entirely in my own mind.

    In a way, isn’t the spirit of this article almost the total opposite of the wisdom of this very blog?

    Here’s the bit I quoted above, again:

    “Wages have been stagnant for most Americans for decades. Inequality has increased sharply. Globalization and technology have enriched some, but also fueled job losses and impoverished communities.”

    This seems like the starting point of every stupid LWer or RWer, whether it’s your fan of Donald “bring those jobs back” Trump or your fan of Elizabeth “bring all of 1965 back” Warren.

    It’s all lies by omission. “Wages have been stagnant” is just another term for “let’s ignore what was special or not so special about the US labor market in the 1960’s, the entry of women into the labor force, and all the actual things (or data) that would complicate our simplistic narrative.”

    “Globalization” is just another term for “not modeling your economy after East Germany.”

    Then there’s the lie of “funding for economic and policy research focused on alternatives to traditional economic thinking,” when it’s obviously a marketing thing, the money is intended to raise the *status* of an existing set of economic notions. Maybe there will be some “research” into how to twist people’s arms with greater torque, or something like that.

    “Dr. Autor is a leader of the M.I.T. program on shaping the future of work. ‘We’re calling it ‘shaping’ because it is interventionist,’ he said.”

    Why not just call it Industrial Policy? Or how about “Post-industrial Industrial Policy?”

    Ultimately, it’s always the old “something costs $10, but we’ll be better off if we pay $15 for it” idea. I guess to some extent it’s also the “we can’t convince Americans of the importance of higher taxes, so we’ll go with this pointless and worthless alternative.” Plus of course a heaping helping of “we haven’t been reading The Money Illusion, or listening to the Keynesian-types who don’t really disagree in the slightest with Sumner, though they try to give off an air of doing so, so we don’t understand how just getting monetary policy right would do 10X more for people in the lower half of the income distribution than this crap.”

  17. Gravatar of nick nick
    21. February 2022 at 01:08











  18. Gravatar of ankh ankh
    21. February 2022 at 01:38

    I also hope Putin attacks. And more importantly, I hope he WINS!

    Free Ukraine and Eastern Europe from the clutches of the WEF & their MNC’s.

    I love Americans. I love the Federalist papers, but Americans and Canadians and most of Western Europe is living under tyrannical supranationals. The people have been brainwashed into thinking they are “free” while they live under mobsters. I want people I elect making policy, not thugs in brussels.

    Build back better is code for crushing any resemblence of individualism. It’s antithetical to the values of your country’s framers. In fact, everything Klaus Schwab stands for is in opposition to liberty. And that is why he’s trying so hard to “replace” and “reimagine”.

    RU is the good guy in 2022., as they were 1945

  19. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    21. February 2022 at 04:33

    We have always had “transgressive” thinking in America—-I.e., anti America (to critique something as anti American, is NOT close to the same as being for everything America engages in). To me, anti American is to willfully be in favor of erasing our constitutional process—-as less than imperfect as it is (I don’t recall any founders claiming perfection).

    But two of our commenters seem to be in favor of Russia taking over the Ukraine. And while Dylan warned 60 years ago to be wary of believing God is on our side, he certainly was not saying to give up hope, and give up trying.

    In that vein, Scott’s pessimism (he even says “from our perspective” Orwell will be right—-as if “our perspective” is just another relativistic belief——) and I believe he is against Orwellianism. His belief that will prevail sounds like the proverbial “get off my lawn “guy”. No it won’t.

    I am sympathetic to that view——— however——-for reasons Marcuse always believed ——the US is Already the totalitarian winner, I believe he was right —-except it’s not totalitarian. My current example ——-because it is so easy to understand—-is former self proclaimed criminal and almost billionaire Snoop-Dog—-now does funny commercials for beer. We eat the transgressives and they become part of America. Not all—-The AOC’s and Soros’s ? No, they don’t. They just disappear.

    Even Henry’s “chicks with dicks” ——which have been around in former so-called transgressive pop culture since Dylan and Lennon and way before that too——America has room for chicks with dicks. Just not room for 75 genders—-that too will fade.
    Scott—-you are too young to believe that. If you are 90 and still believe it——then……well….

  20. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    21. February 2022 at 04:37

    Scott—-how costly is it to permit to make changes after something is submitted—it feels “totalitarian”—-no errors permitted—-live with your mistakes—-no second chances—-punished forever :-). Learn to do it right the first time——and so forth.

  21. Gravatar of Michael Michael
    21. February 2022 at 05:05


    —Russia was the “good guy” in ‘45? Because they got to Berlin first and had more soldiers and their people die? First, they tried to sign up with “Herr Hitler”, who viewed Slavic people as perfect partners——inferior yet permanent useful slave labor. What a dumbass. Second, the US sent every bit of money we could to “UncleJoe”——which funded his otherwise crappy war machine. And if he needed to kill his own people to make it work—well, why not?

    Then his terminally stupid greedy eyes tried to race to Japan to get in on the action after the US, with a little help from the British Empire (only a little) basically handled Japan on its own. Even FDR/Truman were not so dumb as to permit that. The victory over Japan is extremely underrated to this day in popular culture.

    We ran out of heat, Stalin finally knew he had a great deal when Americans understandably grew tired of fighting——and the Soviets too only 40 years to blow it.

    Now your hero Putin—-who lives in some fantasy world and thinks getting the Ukraine is some prize——-is the last burp of Stalin as they inevitably revert back to the same global status of the Czars.

    And Scott’s pessimism, unfortunately kicks in here——-as we have no idea what our view should be—-or our tactics. All we needed to do was bark hard and and claim we have no desire to to make Ukraine part of Germany’s sphere of interest. Maybe that is what we will do.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. February 2022 at 09:57

    Classical, Suppose the people of ancient times could have seen our current society. Dueling outlawed. “Me too” movement, etc. Wouldn’t they have been horrified? Wouldn’t they view the modern world as effeminate and cowardly? And yet we do not see it that way. So who’s wrong, them or us?

    And who will be wrong in 500 years, today’s people or the people with radically different moral views that live 500 years from the future?

    No, I don’t worry too much about the future, it has nothing to do with me. The human race will go wherever they choose to go.

    Anon/portly, Thanks for clarifying that. Good comment.

  23. Gravatar of Janice Janice
    22. February 2022 at 11:46

    Good to see Putin finally recognize the donbass region.

    The shelling hasn’t stopped since 2014. The leaders in Keiv – who took over in a 2014 coup, are not representing those people.

    They deserve better. And Russia tried to negotiate for 7 years on their behalf, and all they got was meandering nonsense from a regime that is cleared backed – and mostly funded – by NATO, which, in turn, is funded by the WEF (or shall we say, the tax money of the top MNC’s).

    Let the people in Donbass sleep at night, without worrying whether their kids are going to be killed by crazy left wing nut jobs connected to Kiev’s hostile regime.

    They deserve to be free people.

    Good job Putin. It takes guts, especially when the MNC’s and their puppets threaten sanctions on your people, but he has the courage to take the moral high ground. People are not a means to an end, but ends in themselves.

  24. Gravatar of Sven Sven
    23. February 2022 at 09:30

    He is right. Neoliberalism is dead.

    Prof. Sumner, I have a new model. Yes. You will see it if you have a good health.
    I should contact with this new initiative to introduce my model.

Leave a Reply