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News

A new narrative for a complex age

30 Jan 2017

The starkness and magnitude of the recent crisis calls for a serious reflection to revisit policy approaches and build a new policy agenda for stronger, more resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth. The OECD initiative on New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) is a comprehensive organisation-wide reflection process to renew and strengthen the OECD’s analytical frameworks, policy instruments and tools.

INET Oxford's Executive Director, Eric Beinhocker, has written a blog piece for the OECD initiative on NAEC. This is based on remarks from an OECD Roundtable meeting.

"History tells us that populist waves can lead to disaster or to reform. Disaster is certainly a realistic scenario now with potential for an unravelling of international cooperation, geopolitical conflict, and very bad economic policy. But we can also look back in history and see how, for example, in the US at the beginning of the 20th century Teddy Roosevelt harnessed populist discontent to create a period of major reform and progress.

This is why we need new economic thinking. This is why the NAEC initiative is so important. The OECD has been taking economic inequality and stagnation seriously for longer than most, and has some of the best data and analysis of these issues around. It has done leading work on alternative metrics other than GDP to give insight into how people are really doing, on well-being. It is working hard to articulate new models of growth that are inclusive and environmentally sustainable. It has leading initiatives on education, health, cities, productivity, trade, and numerous other topics that are critical to a new narrative.

But there are gaps too. Rational economic models are of little help on these issues, and a deeper understanding of psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, and history is required. Likewise, communications is critical – thick reports are important for government ministries, but stories, narratives, visuals, and memes are needed to shift the media and public thinking."

To read the blog please see the OECD website by clicking here.