Saifedean Ammous Seminar
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 4:10pm-6:10pm
Economics Beyond Financial Intermediation
Bitcoin is the first technology for the final transfer of digital goods online, facilitating the groundbreaking innovation of instant global payments without intermediation. This seminar will describe the technologies that make bitcoin function, and their implications for global economic development, and particularly for the world’s poorest, who lack access to financial services, and who could skip traditional financial services and move to digital currencies in the same way they have gone straight to using mobile phones and skipped telephone landlines
Philippe Aghion Seminar
Friday, February 28, 2014 4:10pm-6:10pm
Creative Destruction and Subjective Well-Being
Professor Philippe Aghion analyzes the effects of Schumpeterian creative destruction on subjective well-being, examining these effects across a variety of contexts and subjects.
Peter Howitt Seminar
Thursday, November 14, 2013 4:10pm-6:10pm
Innovation and Inequality
Peter Howitt's seminar explores the interplay between innovation and inequality, examining both the ways in which innovation has contributed to inequality in recent decades and how the nature and direction of innovation can be changed to help limit or even reverse the rise in inequality.
Esa Saarinen Seminar
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 4:10pm-6:10pm
Philosophers I Have Known
In "Philosophers I Have Known," Esa Saarinen will discuss the life-philosophical implications of Edmund Phelps's thinking on the Good Economy. Why do seemingly dynamic modes of thinking produce flattened perspectives on life? Phelpsian Good Economy will be considered as a philosophy of flourishing and a radical alternative to dominant modes of thinking.
Esa Saarinen is a Finnish philosopher, corporate coach and inspirational speaker. A media figure and celebrity in Finland, Esa is famed for bringing philosophy to bear on everyday life among the wide audience through his media appearances, colorful writings and public lectures. Working extensively with Finnish companies, most notably with Nokia in the years that transformed the company to the global leader in its field, Esa has developed a distinctive real-life philosophy with focus on the human potential. The idea of Esa's "positive philosophical practice" is to be of service for the cause of the good life and human flourishing. Professor of Applied Philosophy at Aalto University, Esa's lectures invariably attract record audiences. His best known book is Imagologies: Media Philosophy, co-authored with Mark. C. Taylor of Columbia University. Esa is married with the love of his live ("the Queen Pipsa") with whom he has twin boys.
View images from the seminar below:
Amar Bhidé Seminar
Friday, February 15th, 2013 4:10pm-6:10pm
The Hidden Costs of Debt Market Liquidity
Amar's Bhidé's seminar builds on the critique of mechanistic finance in his 2010 book (A Call for Judgment) but with a specific focus on liquefaction of mortgages and small loans. He argues that such liquefaction impels mechanistic lending practices to a much greater degree than the issuance of traditional corporate bonds. It also imposes significant private and welfare costs. He will further argue that mechanistic liquefaction of small loans has been nurtured in the US by efforts to increase home ownership and by securities, banking and pension rules.
Efficient Capital, Dynamism and Diversity Seminar
Friday, October 19th, 2012
With Fidelity Investments and Nicholas Beale, Sciteb, Ltd.
Efficient use of capital matters in the regulatory system. Capital is a scarce resource, and using Efficient Systemic Capital encourages banks to reduce dangerous interconnecting and herding. But it is important to see this in the round using Multiple Models and Multiple Objective Functions, because excessive optimization is dangerous. Appropriate levels of diversity are important in the financial and regulatory systems: Monocultures have common failure modes, can't evolve, and lack resilience. These points matter for the dynamism of the real economy.
Nicholas Beale will present key findings from his research conducted with colleagues such as Robert M. Kay, Martin A. Nowak, and Robert S. MacKay. After a short presentation and comments from the discussant(s) and Chairman, the seminar will be a highly interactive discussion gathering perspectives from leading researchers, regulators, and industry participants. It will operate under "Chatham House Rules" and attendance is by invitation only.
Mars, Inc. Seminar
Harold Schmitz, Chief Science Officer
Howard Shapiro, Global Staff Officer Plant Science and External Research
Margaret Peterlin, Chief Intellectual Capital Officer
Joel Harris, Program Manager for Intellectual Capital
Lloyd Timberlake, Project Consultant
Amar Bhidé Seminar
March 30th, 2011 4:10-6:10
Discussion of "A Call for Judgment"
Amar Bhidé discusses his recently published book, A Call for Judgment (Oxford University Press).
"A Call for Judgment clearly explains how bad theories and mis-regulation have caused a dangerous divergence between the real economy and finance. In simple language Bhide takes apart the so-called advances in modern finance, showing how backward-looking, top-down models were used to mass-produce toxic products. Thanks to excessively tight securities laws and loose banking laws, anonymous transactions have displaced relationship-based finance. And Bhide offers, tough simple rules for restoring relationships and case-by-case judgment: limit banks-and all deposit taking institutions-to basic lending and nothing else.
A Call for Judgment is both a primer on the role of finance in a dynamic modern economy, and a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of banks functioning as highly centralized, mechanistic entities. It is essential reading for anyone interested in bringing the economy back to a point at which decisions can be made that foster organic economic growth without the potentially disastrous risks currently accepted by modern finance."
The book can be found at the link.
Richard Nelson Seminar
March 9th, 2011 4:10-6:10
CAPITALISM AS A MIXED ECONOMIC SYSTEM
Introduction: Many factors are stimulating discussion and argument about what reforms are necessary if capitalist economies are to work effectively to meet human economic needs in the 21st century: concerns about global warming, the recent financial crisis, the continuing rise in the costs of medical care, stubborn pockets of poverty in many nations with high average incomes, and others. However, almost no one is seriously proposing that capitalism, as a kind of economic system, be abandoned, and something significantly different put in its place. That kind of argument died out with the end of the cold war. Today, there seems to be broad consensus that there are no real alternatives to capitalism.
But what is “capitalism” anyway? The now extensive literature on comparative capitalisms shows that the economies of countries that generally are considered to be capitalist differ in important ways. (Hollingsworth et al, 1997, provides a good general discussion. See also the chapters by Berglof and Odagiri in this volume.) Also, individual capitalist countries themselves obviously have changed greatly over the years.
However, there would appear to be two core characteristics broadly shared by all countries that call themselves capitalist. First, these economies make extensive use of market organization, broadly defined, to govern the production and distribution of goods and services. Second, this practice is supported by broad ideological agreement that market organization is the best way to govern economic activity.
A central argument of this essay is that, in countries that consider their economies basically capitalist, the conception that market organization is the best mode of economic governance is much simpler and more coherent than the complex and variegated way that economic activity actually is governed, which involves a wide range of non-market elements. This is both a source and a consequence of a continuing political debate about the appropriate governance of various economic activities and sectors. -Richard Nelson
Guillermo Calvo Seminar
December 1st, 2010 4:10-6:10
LOOKING AT FINANCIAL CRISES IN THE EYE
Some Basic Observations
Abstract: The paper discusses frameworks in which the financial sector is at the eye of the storm. In that context, policies that do not repair the damage in the financial sector are, by necessity, second‐best. Actually, aggregate demand policies – emphasized in textbook Keynesian models – may be inferior to heterodox policies that rely on credit targeting. Moreover, based on salient characteristics of modern financial systems, the paper offers a rationale for the fact that many major financial crises appear to come from nowhere. An example is discussed in which the creation of asset‐backed securities may generate an asset price boom. However, asset‐backed securities are subject to runs that, as in Morris and Shin (1998), depend on unobservables. The run, in turn, provokes a crash in the attendant asset prices. The liquidity crisis could spill over to the real sector through a Sudden Stop in domestic credit and/or a sharp change in credit composition in favor of governments and large firms, and against small and medium‐size enterprises. Domestic credit Sudden Stop and sharp changes in credit composition are shown to be prominent features in financial crises, including the subprime. (Calvo)
Saskia Sassen Seminar
November 3rd, 2010 4:10 - 6:10
Beyond Social Exclusion: Emerging Logics of Expulsion
Professor Sassen's seminar was based on a project that she is working on. The central concern is with complexity and its capacity to produce elementary brutalities. One instance of the latter is a diverse set of cases that represent logics of expulsion of a sort that go well beyond the more familiar cases of social exclusion. (Sassen)
Workshop/Roundtable with the Delegation of the European Parliament Crisis Committee
June 10th, 2010 3:00 - 6:30
The Delegation of the European Parliament Crisis Committee will be joining Center Members and Advisory Board Members at Columbia University to discuss the current state of the economic crisis in Europe and the United States.
Peter Howitt Seminar
“Banks, Market Organization and Macroeconomic Performance: An Agent-Based Computational Analysis,” is based on ongoing work with Quamrul Ashraf of Williams College and Boris Gershman of Brown University.
This paper is an exploratory analysis of the role that banks play in supporting what Jevons called the mechanism of exchange. It considers a model economy in which exchange activities are facilitated and coordinated by a self-organizing network of entrepreneurial trading firms. Collectively these firms play the part of the Walrasian auctioneer, matching buyers with sellers and helping the economy to approximate equilibrium prices that no individual is able to calculate. Banks affect macroeconomic performance of this economy because their lending activities facilitate entry of trading firms and also influence their exit decisions. Both entry and exit have conflicting effects on performance, and we resort to computational analysis to understand how these conflicting effects are resolved. Our analysis sheds new light on the conflict between micro prudential bank regulation and macroeconomic stability; under some circumstances the economy performs better when bank regulation pays less attention to micro prudence (ie when capital adequacy ratios are lower and allowable loan-to-value ratios are higher). Related to this, our analysis draws out an important difference between "normal" performance of the economy and "worst-case" scenarios; the micro prudence conflicts with macro stability only in the worst-case scenarios.
Download Bio and Abstract
Ping Chen Seminar
February 24, 2009 4:10pm - 6:10pm
Meso Foundation of Business Cycles and Market Vitality for Macro Policy: A New Trinity of Micro-Meso-Macro Economy
New science of complexity provides more advanced tools in analyzing macro and financial indexes. Two discoveries changed current view of macro and financial economics. First, major source of business fluctuations lies in the meso level (financial intermediates and industrial organization) with little contribution from micro foundations (households or firms). Second, financial market is more stable in frequency domain rather than in price level domain. Business cycles are more like biological clock with endogenous instability and systematic resilience (the Schumpeter's view). We develop a new framework of economy with three layers and new policy target in business cycle management. A general theory of collective movement in financial market could explain complex features in option pricing and financial crisis.
Esa Saarinen Seminar
Esa Saarinen is a Finnish philosopher, corporate coach and inspirational speaker. A media figure and celebrity in Finland, Esa is famed for bringing philosophy to bear on everyday life among the wide audience through his media appearances, colorful writings and public lectures. Working extensively with Finnish companies, most notably with Nokia in the years that transformed the company to the global leader in its field, Esa has developed a distinctive real-life philosophy with focus on the human potential. The idea of Esa's "positive philosophical practice" is to be of service for the cause of the good life and human flourishing. Professor of Applied Philosophy at Helsinki University of Terchnology, Esa's lectures invariably attract record audiences. His best known book is Imagologies: Media Philosophy, co-authored with Mark. C. Taylor of Columbia University. Esa is married with the love of his live ("the Queen Pipsa") with whom he has twin boys. His home page: www.esasaarinen.com.
Download Supporting Notes