Tuesdays, 2:15–3:40, Mar. 27–May 15
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Stephen Quick
Our present world abounds with economic problems: growth has slowed, despite high debt levels and unprecedented stimulus from monetary policy; inequality is rising at a rapid clip; private investment is weak by historical standards; productivity is static; artificial intelligence threatens jobs; and new business formations are down while industrial concentration is up. Financial crises are happening with increasing frequency, and the institutions created to govern the world economy seem increasingly powerless to affect the course of events. These phenomena are confusing to everybody, including professional economists. They do not fit comfortably into prevailing ways of thinking, and this confusion spills over into the political debate regarding the appropriate course for economic policy. This class will explore eight critical economic issues: growth; income and wealth inequality; monopolies and intellectual property; investment; debt; finance; robots and artificial intelligence; and pensions and retirement security. Each session will be devoted to one of these topics, and will consist of an overview of the subject, a summary of the academic and policy debate on the subject, and a discussion about what to do about these areas of concern. A list of relevant readings will be circulated one week in advance of each session.
Stephen Quick, an OLLI member, holds a PhD in political economy from Stanford University and has been staff director of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, chief economist for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, director of evaluation and oversight of the
Inter-American Development Bank, and chief risk officer for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.