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Coffee and Markets

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Francis Cianfrocca joins Ben Domenech for the Wednesday, October 28th edition of Coffee & Markets, a series of brief morning podcasts on politics and the marketplace, now appearing as well on WashingtonTimes.com.

Today’s podcast focuses on Christina Romer’s comments about a VAT, and George Soros’s latest efforts against the free market: the creation of a $50 million thinktank, intended to be endowed with more than $200 million, focused on the effort of ending the free market and making the case for massive government regulation.

Items discussed include this Newsweek report:

Large swaths of economics are going to have to be rethought on the basis of what’s happened.” So said Larry Summers, President Obama’s chief economic adviser, in an interview in the weeks after the markets crashed a year ago. Yet to a remarkable degree, economic thinking hasn’t changed very much at all.

Now financier 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. “Economics has failed not only to predict and explain what happened but has also failed to protect society,” says Robert Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, who will direct the new institute. “That’s what the crisis revealed. The paradigm has failed. There is no guidance.”