Beyond Despair

Articulating a Bold, Progressive Vision for the 21st Century Economy
Thursday January 19, 2017


The economic policies championed by both major American political parties over the last forty years have produced widening inequality, stagnant growth, community decline, and individual despair and alienation. At the same time, the political upheavals of recent months have highlighted the urgent need for fundamental economic reform, and the creation of public institutions that restore individual dignity and prioritize justice, inclusion, and participation for all.

This seminar will explore the historical origins of these trends, and discuss the challenges and opportunities they present to achieving fundamental economic reform.

Questions to be addressed include:

  • What are the principles and features of the contemporary ‘social contract’ between individuals and society, as it pertains to the economy?

  • How does a market-centric worldview influence the development of civil society and public institutions?

  • What are the fundamental causes of recent economic stagnation, and how can they be reversed?

  • How can macroeconomic policymakers best address the needs and concerns of society’s most vulnerable and oppressed?

  • What are the relative merits and disadvantages of job guarantee and basic income policies?



Chris Arnade

Independent Photojournalist

Chris Arnade received his PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1992. He spent the next 20 years working as a trader on Wall Street, building credit models, and trading options, bonds, credit derivatives, interest rates, and FX. He left trading in 2012 to focus on photography.

Pavlina Tcherneva

Associate Professor of Economics & Economics Department Director
Bard College

Pavlina Tcherneva, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Economics, Director of the Economics Department and the Economics & Finance Program at Bard College, and Research Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute. She has worked with policymakers from Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Turkey, and the United States on developing and evaluating job creation programs, and conducted research on the financial and institutional aspects of direct job creation programs, the impact of public employment on women and the environment, and the relative merits of job and income guarantee proposals. She blogs for New Economic Perspectives.

Darrick Hamilton

Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Policy
The New School

Darrick Hamilton is a stratification economist, whose work focuses on the causes, consequences and remedies of racial and ethnic inequality in economic and health outcomes, which includes an examination of the intersection of identity, racism, colorism, and socioeconomic outcomes.


Susan Sturm

George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility
Columbia Law School

Susan Sturm is the George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility and the founding director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School.



This seminar will critically evaluate the legacy of thirty years of market-driven economic policymaking, and explore a new macroeconomic paradigm, grounded in justice, inclusion, and participation for all.


Core Resources