Speaking to the World
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The William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics, The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
“What if I were to tell you that we will never get back to 2 percent inflation, that the next decade will see more investment in decarbonization than ever seemed possible (and it will have nothing to do with ESG scores), and that the EU will undermine US attempts to isolate China…would you be interested in what this means for your firm?”
Acclaimed for his bold prediction that Europe’s turn to austerity would end badly (it did) and then predicting (very early) both Donald Trump’s victory and Brexit, Brown University professor Mark Blyth continues to pinpoint the key forces that shape our economic futures. 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. Read More >
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. His books include Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, which was translated into 16 languages and won numerous awards, Angrynomics, (with Eric Lonergan) a dialog on why our politics got so angry and what to do about it, and forthcoming in 2023, Inflation: A Guide for Losers and Users.
These days two things most concern Blyth. The first is inflation - unlike most of us, he does not think that it’s going away anytime soon. Most of the forces that pushed inflation down for a generation such as globalizing labor markets and favorable demographics are in retreat. This is compounded by climate change, which will stress agricultural and energy supply chains going forward. His forthcoming book, Inflation: A Guide for Losers and Users frames inflation as a problem of who is going to pay for it and who benefits from it. The answers are surprising and matter to us all.
The second thing that concerns Blyth is decarbonization. Specifically, how shifting away from fossil fuels over the next decade will upend our politics, challenge global political alignments, and alter the risk and return profile of entire industries. Far from being a fan of tweaking things with ESG scores and similar ‘greenwashing’ techniques, Blyth argues that serious decarbonization is about to switch into high gear, creating massive numbers of new winners and new losers. If you want to find out what ‘going green’ means for you and your company you need to talk to Blyth.
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 ^
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Angrynomics Book Promo
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On the Brexit Vote
Why Do People Continue to Believe Stupid Economic Ideas?
The reemergence of inflation as a serious economic problem in 2021 caught most observers flat footed. Yet it is now becoming clear that many of the forces that pushed inflation down for a generation, such as globalization and favorable demographics, are reversing. These factors will be compounded by the effects of climate change on food and energy supply chains going forward, all of which will mean ‘higher prices for longer’ than we have been used to in a very long time. In this talk, which draws from his forthcoming book, Inflation: A Guide for Users and Losers, Blyth shows how once inflation becomes embedded different groups in society use different stories about what is causing higher prices to push the costs of inflation on to someone else. Rather that there being a singular ‘true’ view of inflation, Blyth argues that rival inflation stories are better thought of as a political struggle to get someone else to pay the bills. Once you realize this, it becomes easier to navigate inflation over the long run and to not become a loser to inflation in the process.
Geopolitics is back, and its effecting everything from supply chains to military alliances. In the middle of all this are firms with global operations who are trying to navigate a future that is quite different from the peaceful, globalized past. What’s going to give direction to this uncertain moment is the race to decarbonize the world’s leading economies. China has staked leadership in several sectors and has brought many aspects of ‘green tech’ to scale. Critically, China controls the refineries for the rare earths critical for this endeavor for other players in the game. Consequently, the EU, which also wants to lead this transition, is critically dependent on China for its own transition. The USA is trying to reclaim leadership through the IRA and the ‘CHIPS’ Act, but risks alienating the EU and East Asia in the process. Meanwhile, carbon heavy economies such as Russia and the Gulf states are trying to preserve their assets from becoming stranded. In short, it’s a whole new geopolitics that is going to reshape everything your firm does, and indeed, it already is. Blyth is your guide to this emerging new order.
That ‘we live in an increasing polarized world’ has become a commonsense piece of wisdom. That ‘the world has become more unequal and distrustful of 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 "Financial Times Critics Choice" 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 stressing that there are many ways to rescue ourselves from Angrynomics.
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.
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 with comedy 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 structures 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.
“Everything with Mr. Blyth went very well last week. His sessions in Chicago and NYC were great and it was wonderful to meet him…. Your team is wonderful to work with. Thank you very much!”
“Mark was absolutely amazing, the entire room was captivated, engaged and Mark’s presentation sparked a ton of questions. He was a joy to work with and so easy going.”
"Mark did a wonderful job – he was engaging, insightful and really kept our entire team interested."
"Mark was terrific…Your team is ultra professional and made things easy. THANK YOU."
“Everything went splendidly! Mark and the facilitator had a really interesting and very robust discussion and Mark was an absolute professional (would not have expected any less though). Thank you very much for all your assistance in the lead up to the event, and please pass on my appreciation to Mark, the feedback I have received already has been overwhelmingly positive.”
"It was just fantastic..his humor and the way he put forward his views were just amazing. All were just glued to their seats and was a very enriching learning session."
“Mark was excellent. We received lots of positive feedback. We would love to work with him again in the future.”
"Everything went very well! Feedback from the audience was that they really loved his style and content. All in all, a win!"
"Our audience loved him. His topic was very timely and he was certainly lively and entertaining. We had a lot of fabulous feedback. Really, really engaging. He also signed all of his books, and stopped by during our cocktail hour. He really went above and beyond."
"Mark's presentation was fantastic!! Everyone was fascinated with his discussion. We are hoping to book him for another event in November."
"Mark’s willingness to tailor his presentation to our group and to engage fully with participants in the discussion, made the session a very successful opening discussion. Attendees appreciated the clarity and insightfulness of his remarks. Mark was able to strike a balance between focusing on the macro trends which are drivers of the current environment, while also providing some specific opinions about future and potential opportunities."
"Loved him! He was phenomenal!!! We are already looking to book him for another event!"
Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea
Diminishing Returns: The New Politics of Growth and Stagnation
Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century
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