The Institute for New Economic Thinking is a left-wing economics think tank. Founded in 2010 under the sponsorship of financier, philanthropist, and left-wing activist billionaire George Soros, the organization promotes an expansion of left-wing economics education in a search for a new statist economic policy consensus. This search is driven by Soros’s view that policy failed during the financial events of 2008 due to an excess of de-regulation in previous years. Critics have noted that INET’s focus on deregulation as a cause of financial crises is hardly new and misses the failures made by regulators in centralized regulatory systems, including the United Kingdom.
Following the 2008 global financial crisis, liberal mega-donor George Soros convened private meetings at his home to discuss how mainstream economics had failed to predict the meltdown. Subsequent to discussions, in 2009 Soros announced that he would pledge $5 million per year for the next ten years to fund what would become the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).
Following the 2009 announcement, INET opened its doors the next year and convened its first major conference, at Cambridge University in the UK. That event featured more than 50 mainly-academic speakers and included a speech by Soros entitled “The Living History of the Last 30 Years: Economic Theory, Politics and Policy.” Soros linked the crash of 2008 to economic developments dating back to 1980, including what he called President Ronald Reagan’s belief in the “magic of the marketplace,” which Soros said he preferred to call “market fundamentalism.”
Critics, including left-wing critics, have questioned whether CORE is open-minded enough towards new ways of thinking of accomplish its goals. Dr. Tim Thornton has described CORE as having “a soft pluralism that recognises such things as diversity of method,” but is otherwise ”not sufficiently pluralist” in terms of acknowledging new schools of economic thought. Similarly, Dr. Jamie Morgan has highlighted CORE as an exercise in “change without change,” that is in fact pushing new perspectives in economics to the margins of current debates.
INET each year organizes a large-scale annual international gathering of economists. In past years, it has been held:
- 2011 – Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
- 2012 – Berlin, Germany
- 2013 – Hong Kong
- 2014 – Toronto, Canada
- 2015 – Paris, France
- 2016 – Budapest, Hungary
- 2017 – Edinburgh, Scotland
Liberal financier and philanthropist George Soros, one of INET’s founders, is its most notable financial contributor. In 2011, Jim Balsillie, a Canadian technology magnate and philanthropist, announced a $25 million contribution to INET; Balsillie’s Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) began to work with INET.
In 2012, William Janeaway of investment firm Warburg Pincus announced he would make a $25 million contribution to INET’s work, shortly after which Soros announced he would commit another $50 million.
A long-time Soros associate, Rob Johnson, has served as INET’s President since its founding; Johnson previously served as Managing Director at Soros Fund Management.