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Mark  Blyth

Mark Blyth

The William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics, The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University

Biography

The world has never been richer, yet we have never been angrier. What does this say about where we are heading? Acclaimed for his stunning (and very early) predictions of Donald Trump’s victory and Brexit, and for identifying the phenomenon that he named "Global Trumpism," Brown University professor Mark Blyth has once again pinpointed the powerful underpinnings that are shaping our political and economic future. Read More >

Drawing upon his latest book, Angrynomics, co-authored with hedge fund manager Eric Lonergan, Blyth reveals how the rise of nationalism, shifting global politics, financial markets — even the intensified stress of everyday life — are being influenced by an economy of heightened uncertainty and anger. In a world driven by Angrynomics, faith in the workings of markets and politics has been undermined, and ever-accelerating economic change has become something to be feared. Renowned for making complex topics understandable and refreshingly entertaining, Blyth energizes audiences with his sharp Scottish wit and brilliant insights into what’s to come.

Professor Blyth is the William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics and Professor of Political Science and currently serves as Director of the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance at Brown University, an interdisciplinary institute dedicated to exploring how economics and finance impact the world we inhabit today. Blyth’s research focuses upon how and why the economy changes, the politics that it produces and "why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets of evidence to the contrary." He also explores areas ranging from why aging is a threat to economic prosperity, why technology change may not change the world of work as much as some fear, and (in an article with Nassim Nicholas Taleb) why revolutions such as the Arab Spring have the same drivers as financial crises. His other books include Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea and The Future of the Euro. Austerity, which has been translated into 16 languages, won numerous awards, and the attention of Paul Krugman and Lawrence Summers. Reviewing Austerity in the Financial Times, Summers compared Blyth’s writing to that of John Maynard Keynes. Blyth is a contributor to Foreign Affairs and The Guardian and has appeared multiple times on Fox News, NPR, BBC and Bloomberg. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.

Professor Blyth’s ability to break down and clarify complex issues has made him a popular choice for investor conferences, trade associations, client conferences, executive briefings, or any group looking to gain a better understanding of the intertwined future of the economy and politics. He is known for working collaboratively with clients to tailor his presentations to their interests, and most of all, for keeping audiences engaged and entertained. As one client glowingly wrote, "His humor and the way he put forward his views were just amazing. All were just glued to their seats and it was a very enriching learning session." Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Why Do People Continue to Believe Stupid Economic Ideas?

Virtual Keynote | Three Easy Lifts for a Post COVID World

Virtual Keynote | COVID-19: The “Good Problem” Hidden Within

Angrynomics Book Promo

The Mustang and The Volvo

Economic Stresses & Game of Thrones

Get Used to The New Normal

The System Reset

How Does Tech Fit Into the Long and Low Economy?

Economic Trends & The Power of Fintech

On the Brexit Vote

Talks at Google: Austerity - The History of a Dangerous Idea

Speech Topics

From Economics to Angrynomics: Crashes, Reboots & Anger in Our Economies

That ‘we live in an increasing polarized world’ has become a commonsense piece of wisdom. That ‘the world has become more unequal, unfair, and distrustful of its elites,’ is another. ‘The world is so much more stressful,’ is a third. What ties these wisdoms together is the anger that they generate. In his forthcoming book with Eric Lonergan, Angrynomics, Mark Blyth takes this outpouring of anger seriously, differentiating among the types of anger we see today in order to understand the world around us today. Blyth explains why such outbursts of anger are the consequence of large-scale economic crashes, and why this ‘Angrymonics’ is sustained and amplified when such crashes combine with the appearance of new and challenging micro-level stressors in our daily lives – rapid technological changes and aging societies - that make this moment of Angrynomics particularly acute. Blyth does not however stop at diagnosis. He suggests a set of new ideas that cut across tired old political lines and that shy away from the usual appeal to raising taxes. From the creation of Citizens Wealth Funds funded by the profits of financial crises to a Data Dividend from the sale of our data to digital monopolists Blyth stresses the many ways that are there to push us back from Angrynomics.

Coronavirus & the Economy: What We Know, Don’t Know & Cannot Know

As Yogi Berra memorably put it, "it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future." So, what do we actually know about COVID-19? And how can we make reasonable predictions about likely outcomes? Will we be facing doomful long-term damage? Or only short-term effects that will be as seasonal as the virus itself? With a keen eye on Asian, European and North American economies and markets, master forecaster Mark Blyth examines the key variables, risks, opportunities and overall political and economic impact of COVID-19.

Black Swans, Grey Swans & Redback Spiders: What Complex Systems Tell Us About Life’s Big Questions

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s evocative metaphor of the Black Swan is instantly impactful. It reminds us of the impact of low probability events. But Taleb also mentions ‘Grey Swans,’ things which are known, but whose impact is subjectively discounted. There are also things called Redback Spiders, which Australians live with quite comfortably, despite these things being deadly. What these metaphors do is to help us understand how we think about risk, and how we often discount things that can harm us as well as things that can benefit us. This talk highlights how thinking in complex system terms allows us to understand better why viruses have such different effects in different places, why we underprice climate change risk, why we struggle to accept long term low interest rates, why everyone getting old is a major economic problem, why robots are really our friends, and why wage stagnation is a problem for everyone, not just those with stagnant wages.

Global Trumpism: Lessons for Leaders

The election of president Trump,, Brexit, and the rise of populist politics in general has been both a long time coming...and yet was singularly unexpected. How come such an important shift in our politics and economics was so mis-priced? Mark Blyth, the political economist that identified the phenomenon of “Global Trumpism,” by predicting both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump months before they happened, walks you through the dynamics in both the U.S. and Europe that have broken politics as usual and sent shockwaves through the global economy. He contends that Trump is not unique and that Global Trumpism was 30 years in the making. From there, he asks ‘what do these political and economic surprises tell us about leadership and survivability in the corporate world?’ The answers are both simple, and compelling.

Long, Low & Angry: The Long Run Global Macro Outlook

Prediction is hard, especially when it’s about the future. But there are certain structural forces in the global economy that limit the paths any possible future can take. Inflation rates and interest rates remain stuck at historical lows while political volatility reaches 60 year highs. Meanwhile, the effects of climate change, which must be increasingly incorporated into financial decisions, becomes increasingly real. Within that matrix, what can we reasonably say about the next decade? Blyth asks us to focus on the “signal” (the long run drivers of returns) and discount the “noise” (the short-term politics that surrounds them), arguing that short term events like Brexit will turn out to be a painful sideshow, that over the medium term US China relations will stabilize, and that long term the real area of political and economic volatility for the next decade will be Europe. Taken together what we are seeing is a reconfiguration of the global financial and trade architecture away from tightly coupled global networks to more ‘hub and spoke’ regional arrangements that may actually prove to be more stable, and better suited to combat climate change, than then current order.

The Upside of Disruption: Why a World with Populism & an Aging Population, Needs More, Not Less, Technology

The politics of the developed world has become disturbed. Far from being a temporary blip, populism on the right and left is here to stay, and it will shape our economies for the next decade. But underneath that ‘system shift’ the rich countries are also getting older. Older people save more, spend too little, and vote more than everyone else. And both of these secular trends are taking hold in a world that is in the throes of a digital disruption. The usual response is to fear this disruption, taking its effects on jobs and incomes as always bad. Mark Blyth challenges this view and argues that not only is there an upside to disruption for everyone through doing more with less, he also shows us why an aging and populist world can only be stabilized and prosper with more tech, not less. He strongly argues that we need to embrace the digital future in order to survive our populist present.

Why People Believe ‘Stupid’ Economic Ideas

Before becoming an acclaimed political economist and author, Mark Blyth was, for a brief time, a stand-up comedian. In this talk, which is a great closer for any conference, he combines his passion for political economy and flair for humor to explain why economic ideas that are not supported by evidence not only persist, but multiply. He charts an amusing course from the limits of human cognition to the incentive structure of organizations to explain why humans are so bad at understanding the world that they live in. Throughout, Blyth reminds us that stupid economic ideas are everywhere, how to spot them, and why, paradoxically, we can’t really do without them.

Customized Executive Briefing

How will the larger trends in global economics, politics and financial markets affect your industry and business? In this highly engaging executive briefing, political economist and master forecaster Mark Blyth, author of Angrynomics, examines the issues your company’s leaders care about most, calling out warning signs along the way. Known for his collaborative style in customizing his presentations, humorous Scottish candor and highly interactive Q&A, Blyth delivers a thought-provoking session that unpacks and illuminates the increasingly intertwined future of economies and politics.