Roosevelt Institute Releases New Policy Report on Tackling 21st Century Economic Challenges

New report offers bold approach to policymaking: curbing concentrated power and reclaiming public power in our economy and political system

NEW YORK, NY — Today, the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank that promotes progressive economic and political reforms, launched a progressive economic framework: New Rules for the 21st Century: Corporate Power, Public Power and the Future of the American Economy. Authored by Roosevelt experts Nell Abernathy (Vice President of Policy and Strategy), Darrick Hamilton (Fellow and Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University), and Julie Margetta Morgan (Fellow and Executive Director of the Great Democracy Initiative), the report offers progressive policymakers a “one-two punch” for building an inclusive economy—curbing corporate power in markets and politics, while deploying public power to meet individual needs and national goals.

With a renewed commitment to transforming corporations, restructuring markets, reviving democratic institutions and reimagining the role of government, the authors lay out their approach by:

  • Describing the failure of a skewed agenda that guided politics and policymaking for decades. For 50 years, flawed assumptions about self-regulating markets and the limits of government not only distorted policymakers’ and the public’s assumptions about what government can—and should—do, but it also shaped how power was distributed in our economy and democracy
  • Offering a new progressive worldview that argues markets—while essential—require rules and regulations to thrive, that government can do some things more effectively than markets, and that we can finance much more government spending than is commonly believed.

The report also includes policies to make markets work more effectively—including raising taxes, reforming antitrust policy and rewriting labor law—as well as policies to reclaim public power—including democracy reforms and more robust use of public options.

Insight From the Authors:

“The current political moment presents an opportunity to build bold new policy proposals, but we need to better understand what ‘bold’ really means,” said Margetta Morgan. “This report will help policymakers, and the public, differentiate between policies that promote structural change in our economy and those that paper over existing broken power dynamics.”

“The challenges we face may seem disparate, but they each have a common root: a market-fundamentalism that has dominated policymaking for the past 50 years,” said Abernathy. “The future of the American economy and our democracy depend on a new way of thinking about markets and a new way of thinking about the role of government.”

“Since our nation’s founding, racism and stratification have been strategically used to fuel an economic system that siphons power from the public and transfers it to the wealthy elite,” said Hamilton. “Both economic and political reforms must be designed in a race-conscious way that considers the legacy of implicit and explicit exclusion of black and brown Americans from our democracy. Just as race has been directly related to our country’s economic past, addressing racial inequality is a nonnegotiable part of building a strong, long-lasting, moral economy.”

New Rules for the 21st Century builds on Roosevelt’s 2015 Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy report, which argued that rising inequality was the result of policy choices and that rewriting regulatory and legal rules structuring markets could reduce economic inequality without reducing growth.

To learn more about how this report adds to this agenda with a robust emphasis on inclusive public power, additional detail and the full report can be found here.

About the Roosevelt Institute

The Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank, promotes bold policy reforms that would redefine the American economy and our democracy. With a focus on curbing corporate power and reclaiming public power, Roosevelt is helping people understand that the economy is shaped by choices—via institutions and the rules that structure markets—while also exploring the economics of race and gender and the changing 21st-century economy. Roosevelt is armed with a transformative vision for the future, working to move the country toward a new economic and political system: one built by many for the good of all.

To keep up to date with the Roosevelt Institute, please visit us on Twitter or follow our work at #RewriteTheRules.