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19 Nov 2010

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), one of Britain’s most influential think tanks, has set up a programme on what it calls “new era economics”. Its researchers will work alongside a panel of 16 experts including Aditya Chakrabortty, Charles Leadbeater, David Marquand, Diane Coyle, John Kay, Paul Ormerod, Robert Rowthorn and Robin Murray. There will also be a Thinking Post blog.

This initiative follows the creation of the Institute for New Economic Thinking in October 2009 and the rebranding America’s Schumacher Society as the New Economics Institute.

Britain’s New Economics Foundation, which works closely with the New Economics Institute, was founded way back in 1986.

In itself there is nothing wrong with examining the weaknesses of conventional economics. Indeed it would be surprising if there was not such questioning in the aftermath of the economic turmoil of recent years.

The problem is that the alternatives posited by such organisations are often even worse. Typically they argue that mainstream economics is too preoccupied with growth and too ambitious in its intellectual scope when on both counts the opposite is the case.