The Neoliberal Agenda is a Fool's Errand
"if we want to change the world it’s going to have to be through policy"
I guess John doesn't really agree with his own assertion that Economics is Dead, since it is a very Ecnomics-y proposition to assert that policy is the only way to change the world.
Policy is "economics-speak" for laws, and government and compulsion of behavior to change social norms, rather than to enforce them. Despite decades of proof this doesn't work, here we are again.
Specifically, John is acting from within the third of the three primary premises of the very Neoliberalism is seems to be declaring dead.
1. The Invisible Hand;
2. The Growth Imperative
3. Government v Markets Duality.
He is speaking from the Third Premise: when Markets fail, we need to default to Government, i.e. Policy, i.e. the Force of Law. There is no other choice. Also, until Markets actually do fail, Governments have to stay out of it. Completely.
But first, The Invisible Hand.
This is the proposition that all choices made by society are actually made by us, as individuals, each deciding for ourselves in our own self-interest, according to what we each believe is in our own best self-interest. Not selfishness, really. Self-determination. FREEDOM! in MAGA-speak.
The unspoken corollary of this is that institutions don't matter. Which contradicts the third principle: that there are only two institutions, and they matter very much. It is overwritten by the second principle: The Growth Imperative.
We are free to choose how we think the economy is going to grow, but we MUST CHOOSE GROWTH. All else Ist Verboten!
Also, people as individuals don't actually vote in the Markets for Money, which is the only Market that really matters in Neoliberalism. Money does. Or rather people vote with money. The more money you have, the more your vote counts. If you have more money than anybody else, your vote is the only vote that counts.
This is not freedom. It is tyranny by money. Which is Neoliberalism.
And which individuals have the most money with which to vote in the Markets for Money?
Those who control the institutions that own the most money.
What are those institutions, that own the most money in the Markets for Money today?
Pensions. And also, endowments. The tens of trillions collectively, worldwide, of society's shared savings aggregated into social superfunds for future income security in retirement (pensions) and for future income security for civil society (endowments).
These institutions own the most money in the Markets, and so they matter the most to society, when it comes to shaping our economy.
But those Institutions are not built for Growth. They are built to be there, now and later, both equally, forever, delivering the dignity of life that comes with security of income for this generation, and the next, both equally, forever: every month, forever.
So that is the tangle of lies that make up Neoliberalism. And the great failing of our economy today.
Because Asset Managers, who are experts at Growth, have monopolized these institutions of Fiduciary Money, and directed them not towards sufficiency to their fiduciary purpose, but to growth in transaction volumes measured in money prices in the Markets for maintaining transaction volumes and prices.
In consequence, Fiduciary Money is failing, the Markets are failing, the Economy is failing, our future is failing ("we are eating our seed corn") and our society is collapsing through a cascading cavalcade of interrelated social failings that emanate from the failthlessness of Fiduciary Money investing in Growth instead of in Sufficiency, including:
financing system instability
retirement system unreliability
social and environmental unsustainability
corporate capture of politics and public discourse
political divisiveness degenerating towards violence
our institutional inability to take action on climate and other challenges in our changing times that require us all, as Humans - Earthlings, really - to take action at the scale of climate
The answer is not policy.
It is common sense.
Your sense, and mine, taken together to form one shared common sense, of what is fiduciary/non-fiduciary in the deployment of fiduciary money as fiduciary-grade financing for fiduciary-grade enterprise to shape a fiduciary economy of dignity and security, for all, forever.
Let's talk about that!
Your think piece is a lot better than the original interview! Thanks for making sense of it. And I agree with Tim. 'Economics is dead' is an empty slogan.