Rethinking Economic Growth

October 9, 2020

We need new metrics of societal well-being.

The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top stories of the week.

An Economic Growth Obsession

Public health and economic health shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. But as economic experts argue in a new Bloomberg piece, society’s fixation on GDP growth has skewed policy priorities to our collective detriment. “In the midst of a deadly pandemic, we still heard the false dichotomy positing a trade-off between our public health and our presumed economic viability,” says Roosevelt Fellow Darrick Hamilton. 

“Focusing on the wrong things can lead to taking the wrong actions,” Roosevelt Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz explains. “There are better gauges of how well we are doing, including assessing how the fruits of our progress are shared and the extent to which our gains are sustainable.” Read on.


A Federal, Online Higher Education System

IIf ever there was a moment, it is now for the federal government to play a role in creating a more centralized set of online courses,” Roosevelt’s Suzanne Kahn tells MarketWatch. As she envisions it, a federal online education system—with a free database of general education courses that fulfill credit requirements at colleges—could lower the cost of a degree. “If the federal government is making this available as a public good, there are still probably people who will go to colleges that cost money, but by setting a floor that is quality free public higher education, you’re both making that available and also helping to regulate the market,” says Kahn. Read more.


Catch Up

  • On the seventh episode of Made to Fail—a podcast co-produced by Roosevelt, The Hub Project, and Goat Rodeo—Mehrsa Baradaran, Lenore Palladino, and Bharat Ramamurti explain the legislative and administrative flaws that prevented some small businesses from accessing Paycheck Protection Program funds. Listen here.
  • Expanding on her Roosevelt report Beyond Transparency: Regulating Online Political Advertising, Columbia University’s Anya Schiffrin hosted a panel addressing policy fixes for political mis/disinformation. Watch here.
  • In a Roosevelt webinar, Stacey Abrams—SEAP Co-Founder and Executive Director—and Open Society-U.S. Executive Director Tom Perriello discussed how leaders across the South are innovating and building toward an equitable economic recovery. Watch now.


What We’re Reading

6 Months after Coronavirus Shutdowns, the Shape(s) of the Economic CrisisNew York Times

The Difference between Shareholder and Stakeholder Capitalism [feat. Roosevelt’s Joseph Stiglitz] – Quartz

The Solution to the Retirement Crisis Is Still in Its Infancy [feat. Roosevelt’s Darrick Hamilton] – MarketWatch

How to Fix America’s Voter Registration System So More People Can Vote – Vox

How One Tribe Is Fighting to Vote Early – Center for Public Integrity