We are economists who think that the economy should serve people, the planet and the future.
Rules are as important in an economy as they are in sports. When gamblers rig the game, players flout the rules, or competent referees are not on the field, the result is a charade and not a fair contest.
Yet some claim that regulations are always bad for the economy. They believe that “freeing” business from rules that protect public health, maintain competitive markets, and ensure financial solvency is the route to prosperity. This ideological opposition to regulation, epitomized by the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, dismantled the firewall between commercial banking and investment banking, and opened the door to the greed and reckless behavior that culminated in our current economic crisis.
Also see: The Bottom Line; Economists’ Statement on Jobs; Economist’s Statement on Housing; Economists’ Statement on Health Care.
Some claim that regulation “kills jobs.” They tell us that firms will hire more workers if they don’t have to worry about such things as safe workplaces, fair wages, clean air and water, or transparent accounting standards. They’re dead wrong. Sound regulations don’t deter investment. Sound regulations don’t deter job creation. On the contrary, sound regulations are a necessary ingredient in any healthy economy.
It was unregulated financial markets that killed millions of jobs, as surely as unregulated pollution kills people.
Some claim that we should treat corporations as people, allowing big business and banks to finance political campaigns, and giving free rein to their lobbyists. We’ve tried letting politicians and corporate CEOs police themselves. The verdict is in: we’ve paid the price in stolen lives, damaged health, massive bailouts, and vanished jobs. It turns out that “anything goes” means that anything goes to those who can pay for it. We need fair and transparent rules to govern our political system that are robustly enforced.
Sound economics supports sound regulation, and sound regulation supports a sound economy.
We call for regulations that prevent big banks from making our nation’s financial system a heads-they-win, tails-we-lose casino.
We call for regulations that safeguard the solvency of working families, the health of the public, and the natural environment as the common heritage of present and future generations.
We call for regulations that put the burden of proof on corporations to prove that it is safe to introduce new chemicals into our air and water, and new financial instruments into our capital markets, just as food and drug manufacturers must do under FDA rules.
We extend our support to the goal of building an economy where businesses, banks, and politicians are held accountable to the people, the planet, and the future.
If you’re an economist and would like to add your name to this statement, please send us an email by clicking here.
Gar Alperovitz / University of Maryland College Park
James K. Boyce / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Omar S. Dahi / Hampshire College
George DeMartino / University of Denver
Gerald Epstein / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Gerald Friedman / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Eban Goodstein / Bard College
Julie Nelson / University of Massachusetts Boston
Juliet Schor / Boston College
Douglas Smith / Econ4
Tim Koechlin / Vassar College
Hannah Appel / University of California Berkeley
Michael Ash / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Lee Badgett / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ron Baiman / Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
Scott Baker / Common Ground – NYC
Erdogan Bakir / Bucknell University
Benjamin Balak / Rollins College
Radhika Balakrishnan / Rutgers University
Fabian Balardini / Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)
Ahmet Baytas / Montclair State University
Carole Biewener / Simmons College
Marc Bilodeau / Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
Cyrus Bina / University of Minnesota
Peter C. Bloch / University of Wisconsin-Madison
Elissa Braunstein / Colorado State University
Antonio Callari / Franklin and Marshall College
Martha Campbell / SUNY Potsdam
Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Kimberly Christensen / Sarah Lawrence College
Jennifer Cohen / Whitman College
J. Kevin Crocker / University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Crotty / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Susan M. Davis / Buffalo State College
Carmen Diana Deere / University of Florida
Geert Dhondt / John Jay College, The City University of New York
P.K. Dollar / Gem Communications
Laura Dresser / Center on Wisconsin Strategy
Marie Christine Duggan / Keene State College
Amitava Krishna Dutt / University of Notre Dame
Justin A. Elardo / Portland Community College
Bilge Erten / United Nations, DESA
Joshua Farley / University of Vermont
Kade Finnoff / University of Massachusetts Boston
Heidi Garrett-Peltier / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Barbara Garson / “Author “”Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% live in the Great Recession””
Armagan Gezici / Keene State College
David Gold / The New School
Jonathan P. Goldstein / Bowdoin College
Eban Goodstein / Bard College
Doug Henwood /”Left Business Observer, “”Behind the News””
Wolfgang Hoeschele / Truman State University
Julio Huato / St. Francis College
Mary C. King / Portland State University
Mark Klinedinst / University of Southern Mississippi
Kazim Konyar / California State University, San Bernardino
Philip Kozel / Rollins College
David Laibman / City University of New York
June Lapidus / Roosevelt University
Joelle J. Leclaire / Buffalo State College, SUNY
Frederic Lee / University of Missouri Kansas City
Fernando Leiva / University at Albany (SUNY)
Charles Levenstein / University of Massachusetts Lowell
Margaret Levenstein / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Patricia J. Lindsey / Retired
Sean MacDonald / New York City College of Technology, City University of New York
Arthur MacEwan / University of Massachusetts Boston
Stephanie Martin / Allegheny College
Peter Hans Matthews / Middlebury College
Elaine McCrate / University of Vermont
Michael Meeropol / John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
Ralph Meima Marlboro / College Graduate School
John D. Messier / University of Maine Farmington
Peter B. Meyer / University of Louisville, The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.
John Miller / Wheaton College
Fred Moseley / Mount Holyoke College
Tracy Mott / University of Denver
Ellen Mutari / The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Julie A. Nelson / University of Massachusetts Boston
Eric Nilsson / California State University San Bernardino
Jennifer Olmsted / Drew University
Shaianne Osterreich / Ithaca College
Aaron Pacitti / Siena College
Karl Petrick / Western New England University
Thomas Michael Power / The University of Montana
Paddy Quick / St. Francis College
Wendy Rayack / Wesleyan University
Stephen Resnick / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Meenakshi Rishi / Seattle University
Leopoldo Rodriguez / Portland State University
Frank Roosevelt / Sarah Lawrence College
Luis D. Rosero / Fitchburg State University
Blair Sandler / University of Massachusetts Amherst PhD, now teaching T’ai Chi
Ted P. Schmidt / SUNY Buffalo State
Markus P. A. Schneider / University of Denver
Barry Shelley / Brandeis University
Thomas Simmons / Greenfield Community College
Bryan Snyder / Bentley University
Peter Spiegler / University of Massachusetts Boston
Howard Stein / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Masao Suzuki / Skyline College
Pavlina R. Tcherneva / Franklin and Marshall College
Frank Thompson / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Renee Toback / URPE
Mariano Torras / Adelphi University
Mayo Toruño / California State University San Bernardino
A. Dale Tussing Syracuse University
Hasmet Uluorta / University of Miami
Valerie Voorheis University of / Massachusetts Amherst and Marlboro College Graduate Center
Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji / University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Wagner / John Burrough Schools, Webster University
Scott A. Weir / Wake Technical Community College
Thomas E. Weisskopf / University of Michigan
Maggie Winslow / University of San Francisco
Yavuz Yaşar / University of Denver
“anti-regulation ideology led to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act’s financial safeguards”: see Haldane 2010.
“sound regulations don’t deter investment”: see Shapiro 2011 and Shapiro and Irons 2011.
“put the burden of proof on corporations to demonstrate that it is safe to introduce new chemicals into our air and water”: see U.S. Government Accountability Office 2007.
“or new financial instruments into our capital markets”: see Crotty and Epstein 2009.
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