We are very pleased to announce that Herman Mark Schwartz will visit Amsterdam and give a talk on Global Secular Stagnation at our University. Herman has worked on a broad set of issues in International Political Economy and is well-known to generations of Amsterdam Political Science students through his “authoritative introduction to the development and character of the global political economy” in States versus Markets.
Global Secular Stagnation: Keynes, Schumpeter, or Veblen?
What explains slow growth in the global economy? The usual explanations point to demographic factors, technological stagnation, income inequality, or the 2008 crisis. Yet the first two of these variables are largely invariant, in that they have been present since the 1990s. The last factor can’t explain the relative slowdown in growth rates starting in the 1990s, only the starker decline post-2008. The third factor is incomplete. All four are somewhat incommensurable. This article returns to three early theorists of growth: Keynes for demand-side arguments, Schumpeter for supply-side arguments, and Veblen for industrial organization and business behavior arguments. Doing so provides a more supple unification of the usual explanations at a theoretical level while at the same time pointing towards a set of concrete institutional and political structures and behaviors that hinder growth. In turn this identification suggests more focused policy interventions to increase growth rates. A Veblenian approach points to the importance of firms’ strategy and structure as the main inhibitor of more robust growth.