George Soros to pump $50 million into countering "free-market zealotry"
This will be interesting:
[F]inancier George Soros is announcing a $50 million effort to speed things along. This week Soros is gathering some of the leading practitioners of the market-skeptic school, who were marginalized during the era of "free-market fundamentalism," among them Nobelists Joseph Stiglitz, George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Sir James Mirrlees. He's also creating an "Institute for New Economic Thinking" to make research grants, convene symposiums, and establish a journal, all in an effort to take back the economics profession from the champions of free-market zealotry who have dominated it for decades, and to correct the failures of decades of market deregulation. Soros hopes matching funds will bring the total endowment up to $200 million.
That's a lot of money. It's so much money, in fact, that it's hard to imagine how an economics think tank will use it, although Soros may be imagining more of an endowment model that seeds the "Institute for New Economic Thinking" far into the future.
Either way, this brings up something I've been wondering about: where's the new conservative infrastructure? After their defeat in 2004, Democrats funneled a lot of cash into new institutions. Media Matters, the Democracy Alliance, the Center for American Progress, and many other fixtures of the contemporary landscape are products of that manic period of rebuilding. Previous to that, Democrats tried to respond to their defeats in the 80s with groups like the Democratic Leadership Council that tried to moderate the party's ideology.
But Republicans have actually suffered much worse defeats in recent years, and not done much about them. There's not been a concerted effort to moderate the party's ideology or rectify perceived structural imbalances. They seem to be hoping their opponents get weaker rather than pursuing a strategy to make their party stronger. Insofar as new structures are emerging, they seem, like the Tea Parties, to be conservative rather than Republican, and as likely to tear the party apart as make it whole.