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Mark Blyth

Political Economist & Author
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Biography

Noted author, professor and expert on global politics and economics, Dr. Blyth regularly speaks to diverse global audiences including financial institutions, multi-national corporations, associations, governments and literary festivals. In addition to keynote speeches, he is a sought after moderator and live interviewer for notable figures such as Tony Blair, Gerhard Schroeder, and the ex-Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis. Blyth distinguishes himself on the speaking circuit with an ability to break down complex, financial and political issues with clarity and sharp Scottish wit. He predicted the Brexit vote, Trump’s election and Italy’s referendum well before most pundits.

Currently Mark serves as the Eastman Professor of Political Economy at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. His research focuses upon the causes of stability and change in the economy, and why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets of evidence to the contrary.

Blyth has a PhD. in Political Science from Columbia University, and the common theme of his research has been how macroeconomic knowledge is used in politics, by politicians, economists and others. His first book, Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002), explored our changing ideas about how the economy works itself, drives changes in the economy.

This is a theme he continued in his most recent works, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea and The Future of the Euro. Austerity, which has been translated into 14 languages and has won international awards, shows how bad economic ideas not only never die, they are simply refashioned and repurposed for the same old political ends – making someone else pay the bill – time and time again. Lawrence Summers, reviewing Austerity in the Financial Times compared Blyth’s writing to that of John Maynard Keynes, while Paul Krugman, reviewing it in the New York Review of Books said that it shows us how the case for Austerity policies in Europe ‘collapsed.’ His most recent work on The Future of the Euro argues that while the Euro as a currency will survive, its current make up of members will not.

His work on how economic ideas impacts politics, on macro-prudential regulation in finance (as a member of the Warwick Commission that made an early set of recommendations for macro-prudential regulation), and on exotic monetary policies such as negative rates and so-called ‘helicopter drops’ of cash directly to households, has been internationally recognized.

He is a regular contributor to the journal of the Council for Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs and The Guardian Newspapers and has appeared multiple times on NPR, BBC, and Bloomberg.

He is currently working on two books – The Greediest Generation? The Baby Boomers and the Crisis of Prosperity and Disruption: How to Live Long and Prosper in an Angry World.

Topics

What Global Trumpism Means to World Markets

Are there a higher set of drivers in the global economy than we commonly pay attention to? Is the election of Donald Trump really just one part of a much larger, global pattern of events that is still unfolding and will affect us for years to come? Mark Blyth, the political economist that identified the phenomenon of “Global Trumpism,” shares powerful insights that will forever change your outlook on both global politics and world markets. Noted for predicting both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump months before they happened, Blyth walks you through the disparate dynamics in both the U.S. and Europe that will forever alter politics as usual and send shockwaves through the global economy. Stating that Trump is not unique and that Global Trumpism was 30 years in the making, Dr. Blyth points out the other “Trumpets” scattered throughout the world (including the left wing versions). He also tells you what this shift of power means to financial markets, the fate of the EU, and the political and economic climate in the U.S. His straight-talking, no-holds-barred and frequently entertaining analysis tells it like it is—with powerful predictions of what’s to come.

Is There an Avant Garde in Economics? The Question of Money

Money is everything, and yet it is nothing. It has no reality except as trust among people who will never meet one another. In this speech, Blyth shares how money is governed by economists, central bankers, the markets, and other very serious people who insist that it is much more than a convention. Yet, accepting the reality of money as “virtual” allows us to push the boundaries of economics, banking and markets in search of its Avant Garde. That Avant Grade exists, in the form of “helicopter money,” “modern monetary theory,” “digital currencies” and even “central bank money,” which is actually quite different from the money currently governed by central banks. Searching for the Avant Garde in economics at its monetary frontier invites us to rethink what we think about money, and the power we give today to those who manage our money.

After the Brits Have Gone: Can Europe Turn a Drama into a Crisis it Can Use?

Questions of EU reform remain stuck at the level of macroeconomics (more fiscal, less money), regulation (more banking union and more capital markets), and legitimacy (enhancing the Parliament, more responsiveness). This may be a case of the French Generals fighting the last war. Blyth explains that if Brexit was essentially the working classes of the UK giving their establishment the proverbial two-fingers, then the area that needs the most attention is the national politics that underlies the EU’s supra-nationalism. Therefore, if political reactions like Brexit are diagnosed as being essentially xenophobic, then responding to them will be extremely challenging for the EU. If they are diagnosed as being essentially economic, then the EU can fashion creative responses.

Short Term Politics Versus Long Term Returns: What’s Driving What?

This is a discussion of how short term events that seem disconnected (Trump, Brexit) may have long term generators. Specifically, how the long term war against inflation may have produced unintended political consequences that investors will need to take account of going forward.

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