LIVE STREAM TODAY: Bernard Schwartz, George Soros, Martin Wolf, Laura Tyson and Many More on “What Will Take the Place of the U.S. Consumer?”


The New America Foundation is hosting today the first in a series of Bernard L. Schwartz Economic Symposia from 8:45 am – 1:00 pm EST.
The event will feature some of the world’s most thoughtful and influential economic policy practitioners and commentators including Bernard Schwartz, George Soros, Laura Tyson, Martin Wolf, Clyde Prestowitz, Desmond Lachman, Tom Gallagher, Steve Coll, Mark Zandi, William Gerrity, Leo Hindery, Richard Vague, Nicholas Lardy. Jeff Madrick, Sherle Schwenninger, and others.
The rules of the global economy are being rewritten. The leaders of the world’s most powerful nations will sit down on April 2nd at the G-20 summit to address not only the issues that were pushed from November’s failed G-20 meetings but also the problems that have mounted since. The most crucial of which is, what will replace the U.S. consumer as the world’s primary engine of growth?
This entire conference will STREAM LIVE here at The Washington Note between approximately 8:30 am and 1:00 pm EST today, Thursday, 26 March 2009.
We hope that you will join us either in person at our NEW OFFICES 1899 L Street – 4th Floor or via the live webcast.
Here is the schedule:
8:45 am
Welcoming Remarks
Steve Coll
President, New America Foundation
Former Managing Editor, Washington Post
Staff Writer, The New Yorker
Bernard L. Schwartz
Chairman, BLS Investments LLC
Former Chairman & CEO, Loral Space & Communications
Board Member, New America Foundation
Co-Author, “An Economic Recovery Program for the Post-Bubble Economy”
conference moderator and provocateur
Steve Clemons
Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Publisher, The Washington Note
Opening Keynote Discussion: In the Wake of Collapse: What the U.S. Consumer Left Behind
9:00 am
The Hon. Laura D’Andrea Tyson
S. K. and Angela Chan Chair in Global Management and Public Policy, Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley
Former National Economic Advisor to President Bill Clinton
Board Member, New America Foundation
Martin Wolf
Chief Economics Commentator and Associate Editor, Financial Times
Author, Fixing Global Finance
10:00 am
Panel Discussion-Conversation: The Search for Domestic Drivers of an Economic Recovery
Mark Zandi
Chief Economist and Co-Founder, Moody’s
Author, Financial Shock: Global Panic and Government Bailouts
Tom Gallagher
Senior Managing Director, International Strategy and Investment (ISI) Group
Richard Vague
Chairman & CEO, Energy Plus
Founder and Former Chairman & CEO, First USA Bank
Founder and Former CEO, Juniper Financial/Barclays USA
Leo Hindery
Managing Partner, Inter-Media Partners
Former CEO, AT&T Broadband and Yankee Entertainment Sports Network
Chairman, New America Foundation/Smart Globalization Initiative
Jeff Madrick
Director of Policy Research, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School
Author, The Case for Big Government
11:00 am
Panel Discussion-Conversation: Can Global Demand Come to the Rescue? What Must We See From the G-20 London Summit?
Sherle R. Schwenninger
Director, Economic Growth Program, New America Foundation
Co-Author, “An Economic Recovery Program for the Post-Bubble Economy”
Desmond Lachman
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr.
President and Founder, Economic Strategy Institute
Author, Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East
Nicholas Lardy
Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Co-Author, China’s Rise: Challenges and Opportunities
William Gerrity
Chairman & CEO, Gerrity International
12:00 pm
Remarks and Discussion: Undoing Fundamentalism: What Would a Sensible Strategy for Economic Recovery Look Like?
George Soros
Chairman, Soros Fund Management
Chairman, Open Society Institute
Author, Crash of 2008 and What it Means: A New Paradigm for Financial Markets
(new edition released to public-30 March 2009)
Steve Clemons
Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Publisher, The Washington Note
Closing Thoughts
12:45 pm
Closing Thoughts
Bernard L. Schwartz
Chairman, BLS Investments LLC
Former Chairman & CEO, Loral Space & Communications
Board Member, New America Foundation
Co-Author, “An Economic Recovery Program for the Post-Bubble Economy”
Steve Coll
President, New America Foundation
Former Managing Editor, Washington Post
Staff Writer, The New Yorker
1:00 pm
— Steve Clemons


10 comments on “LIVE STREAM TODAY: Bernard Schwartz, George Soros, Martin Wolf, Laura Tyson and Many More on “What Will Take the Place of the U.S. Consumer?”

  1. Taylor Marsh says:

    A little belated posting a comment here because it was a very busy week for me, but thanks so much for this incredible forum, Steve. It was packed the entire length of the symposium, which is really a tribute to New America Foundation and Mr. Schwartz.
    I also believe it has to be the first event of its kind to actually be reported on via Twitter, which is what I did throughout the morning.
    Mr. Prestowitz is something else; a force.
    As for Mr. Soros, who I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with on a conference call when his “war on terror” book was released, I think his reviews of Obama were particularly insightful. Comments I got, including on Facebook, proved it.


  2. Orwell says:

    There are a series of news report that the American health insurance industry is again interfering into the Japanese Postal insurance affairs. During the Koizumi-takenaka era the foreign industry was successfully pressurized the Japanese side to privatize the Japanese postal services with possible intention of transfering the enormous assetts of postal savings and kanpo(which means simplified, and thus requires not professional medical check before joining) into the investment banks and financing industry.
    Now privatized Japan Post applied for approval of a cancer insurance product and the foreing industry claims that the product will compete with those offered by other private sector insurers, especially American health insurance subsidiaries. They emphasized that the Japon Post continues to have regulatory and other advantages but it is unfounded. They strongly voiced the abolishment of the state-enterprise operated national health insurance system which was so successful in Japan. American lobbyist’s dogma that the private insurance system is the best system is only an il;lusion and prejudice. The Kampo was a product created to supply the medical health insurance for the middle class and lower class family members and in recently years the insurance had been utilized for the households to assist their children can supplement acute expenditures for their kid’s schoolings.
    American industy group set a trap and now claims ‘ a violation of Japan’s international commitments. Japan had pledged to provide “a level playing field” before new products would be approved for the state-owned ‘ It is true that the servants of the foreign vested interests group such as Koizumi, then Prime MInister, Takenaka Heizo, then minister in charge of postal privatization, may have wagged tails and followed the instructions of the foreign masters.. but the ecnomic and political situation has been changed.
    Minister Hatoyama Kunio was quoted “By all means, I would like to approve sales of the cancer insurance… I want this from the bottom of my heart.”
    Hatoyama comments is quite correct that the Koizumi Takenaka governments were only serving the foreign interests and neglected the true values and benefits of the kampo insurance sytem. Ironically the Kampo system was destroyed by the American pressure and the privatized Japan Post which are sharply losing their business shares nationwide and is compelled to intiate the sales of the new product.
    Now almost all the Japanese citizens speculates the postal privatization process behind the scenes and American industry’s intervention into the internal matters which can not be restricted to money games should be avoided and accepted as both irritating and disturbing that the foreing dignitary’s open attack against the Minister Hatoyama who is doing his best efforts to clear the dark clouds and scandals involving the sales of the assetts of the former postal life insurance system. Especially the outrageous statements by the industry’s president Mr Keating is hilarious ones. He says that a level plyaing field simply doesn’t exist but he pretends ignorance that the third fields of the insurance are sold only by the foreign subsidiaries and the agreement done at that time were correlated with the Japanese automakers voluminous sales in the American Market and the balance is now faded out. Mr Keating stresses that there are committments but comittments itself is irrational and one sided one.
    Michael Moore released a movie called the Sicko two years ago and reavealed the politica activities of the insurance industry groups in Washington, D.C. and the rest of the world while putting the American citizens into the third class medical treatment. The movie described the medical insurance system in America is the kind of the worst and fire fighters in New York City all the way went to Cuba to receive proper treatment.
    In the United States, the new government started. Japanese citizens sincerely hope that kind of internal intervention and malpractice such as the unfounded insurance induistry should not be reapeated. While citing the Gatt agreement and other unfair trade practices, those insudtureid pressurized the governments to provide the national treatment, in fact, as already told, a protected and monopolized business areas and zones. Foreing lobbyists seems tohave tried to destroy the popular 100% national medical insurance system and AIG’s subsidiaries and other foreign insurance firms raised huge profit out the insurance business in Japan
    This blog is intended for the American citizens to watch persistently what kind of unfounded and anti-Japanese activities are done by the political and economic agents and brought sufferage to the people in general and lost the credibility and trust in the rest of the world. New Obama administration is now bringing change and practices of arrogance such as the insurance associations pressuring lobbying should be also discarded. American market fundametalism collapsed dramatically but some remnants are wanderingt around the globe as in case of Japan. It is also reported that American governments are for the first time planned to introduce the national medical system and this blog sincerely wishes the success. Last but not least to say that the Japanses ordinary citizens may strongly support Hatoyama statement and Mr Keatings one sided statements would be despised.


  3. questions says:

    If I heard it correctly, Soros made a really interesting error about Heisenberg and natural systems vs. human systems. I think I heard him say that whereas in the human world observers do affect the observed, in the natural world observation is neutral. He mentioned Heisenberg and I thought he interpreted Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to support observer neutrality, but I might have misheard.
    At any rate, observer neutrality doesn’t exist even for Heisenberg. In fact, the observer, merely by observing, affects the system. I think this point might carry over very nicely into the financial system in that as long as no one really observed the flow of money and debt, it kept flowing. As long as we THOUGHT there was money, we consumed as if there really were money. It was only at a moment of observation that the system froze up.
    I think the upshot of this thought is that we may actually do better by being utterly ignorant of the structures on which we depend. If this reading is at all rational, then the best cure for what ails us is to drink from the river of forgetfulness and stop thinking we don’t have money. If money is treated “as if” it’s there, then indeed, it IS there.
    The other thought is that epistemic limits are part and parcel of complex systems. We cannot know entirely what is happening not merely because of futurity, but also in the present and past, and definitionally. Soros’s use of “reflexivity” is akin to hermeneutics near as I can tell and the upshot of hermeneutical thinking is that observers affect the observed. Hopeful hermeneutics suggests there there is something to be known in the end, but a less hopeful version would suggest radical undecidability. The more hopeful version would hold that there is REAL VALUE to be gotten from real work and real property and real production in real factories and real human needs. The less hopeful version would hold that there’s not much that’s “real” in materiality or in human needs or in production.
    Thanks, Steve et al., for arranging this extravaganza! For a future round, I’d recommend getting some social contract theorists too. The political problems that were alluded to during some of the talks should be addressed in terms of what it is we owe each other given that we live together. Republican intransigence stems in part from a really different notion of political obligation and this difference should be engaged.


  4. Bobbi says:

    Terrific conference and I thank you so much for streaming it live. I’m a US citizen living in France and, although I had to do a little trick with Hotspotting in to get allowed in, I was able to view this and really did enjoy and profit from the discussion. so Thanks again…great speakers…great insights.


  5. erichwwk says:

    It would be interesting to hear how the fall of the Czech government over the missile shield is envisioned to affect the U.S. economy by the participants. We have spent over $100 Billion on this. Is this activity envisioned as a throughput, an increase in GDP and “good” for the economy, or as an increase in costs, and thus a net drain on the economy?


  6. Lyle Brecht says:

    I was hoping that the panelists might address taxes, for example, taxes on carbon.
    In the Chicago School of economics, taxes were thought to be bad. They were thought to negatively impact GDP growth, business profits, etc. But, are these ideas still valid? Doesn’t it depend on whether the private sector or the public sector can make better use of capital to produce attractive real, economic returns on this invested capital?
    The financial sector, for example, with financial engineering produced high returns, but they were not real returns. All the profits earned over the past 20 years or so, and more, have been given up over the past year and a half.
    But, a carbon tax is more fundamental in that it corrects a fundamental mispricing in the marketplace, as the marketplace is not pricing carbon emissions properly. Because of this mispricing of carbon, technological innovation is suppressed and capital is misallocated to less productive activities than decarbonizing the economy.
    And decarbonizing the economy is the most productive, in terms of real, economic ROIC that the economy can be doing right now to reduce the primary and largest risk to a sustainable economic recovery – that is the risk from the effects and costs of abrupt climate change.


  7. Walking Turtle says:

    It does indeed appear to this longtime observer of humanoid affairs in this world that the central question of the proposed conference “What will Replace the American Consumer?” is ill-suited to the maintenance and improvement of the quality of life on Earth for the average human being. Indeed, speaking mildly, the question as given seems to stand on false-framed and essentially dangerous (because inhuman) socioeconomic preconception.
    Let the matter now be stated clearly as can be: No amount of spending for ever more military hardware and personel (now suddenly for use against mobs and riots and entire cities of massively pre-abused American citizens here at home as well as deeply irritated-to-insulted citizens of too many other sovereign states to name here will EVER provide the top USDC Jurisdiction’s impunity-laden “Consensus Elite” with the “security” that is so desperately craved and pursued on that sector’s behalf (for THEY do no soldiering!) by All the Wrong Means that Obscene Amounts of Money and Hegemonic Inter/Transnational Coercion can Buy.
    Military products expenditures embedded as quasi-replacement for the tapped-out and debt-drowned American consumer may indeed “stimulate” some limited region’s or locale’s “economy” for the benefit of a favored and hand-picked compliant and complicit few. But what does all the nuke-and-delivery-systems manufacturing activity in the lives of all the the Rest of Us provide? Are we not, in the Streangelove-grade and utterly surreal psychosis of the ongoing US Global Terrorwar MIC+captive-mainstream press juggernaut (no change yet in that NeoCon-driven deadly approach to humanoid affairs on Earth that *I* find reason to believe in!) mere expendable liquidation collateral, worthy only of being blown to bits or worked worse than ancient Egyptian slaves at an obscene profit to “The Syatem”?
    Quo bono anyhow? Top international financiers and complicit heads of top-dog bully-states posing as “World Leaders” certainly do rake it in just like gangland racketeers. Meanwhile the entire Rest of the World+Dog casts wary, war-weary eyes about, day and night, for any genuine hope and/or haven of genuinely human-grade safety and durable peace.
    Worse for us of non-elite birth: Those two essentials of a happy life emerge on critical examination as in fact being the two most widely denigrated and violated (though incessantly hypocritically invoked) attributes of human life under Heaven as they are treated in REAL TIME under the bankster-driven and usury-fuelled Globalist NeoCon agenda.
    Sidebar One: One and all are here and now urged to visit and KNOW THYSELF BETTER than the mainstream press might ever allow. Just go there and see why this is so stated by Yours Truly in very little of your own valuable time. Then TAKE THE QUIZ and SEE where you yourself actually DO stand, Gentle and Violent Reader alike!
    Doubtless, given the framing of the central question as noted above, most if not all attendees to this lovely DC morning soiree shall emerge from the event’s charm and hospitality with the Politically Correct Mantram on their lips, self-reinforcing all throughout their desperate (because mammon-nobbled) little War College-eradicated brains: “WE Have NO CHOICE!”
    The which mantram suits the Party-Goers of Davos, the Gnomes of Zurich and the Wizards of Wall Street just fine. Bet your Funny Hats on that notion, my friends and colleagues. I have done so for nearly three generations now; my own Funny Hat is still both intact and MINE.
    This is becaus at heart all warmaking and attendant fare is in actual reality a high-level CRIMINAL RACKET. Just as Major General Smedley Darlington Butler USMC, who sadly is not here with us now in person to save us all from the fascism as he was for Mr. Roosevelt and all the Rest of Us Back Then, did indeed publish. (Just Google him by name and learn from History, shall we now?)
    Shame on all self-serving elites and elitists (wannabee elites, is all they are) who push the “No Choice Option” on all the Rest of Us! I pray Heaven that genuinely well-balanced and creative critical-thinking *human* hearts and minds somehow prevail at this very interesting conference as well as all around the globe, instead.
    For my own part, I and an entire horde of others like myself all aaround the world are far from idle. The Zero Dollar/Zero Money Option is already well underway in OUR sphere! The Peace Industry is composed of many diverse elements. However, OUR ways are too obviously unstated as the Obvious Replacement for the American Consumer(tm) to fail to notice. We are only designated “Useless Eaters” and worse, though, by the Masters of War and their blabbertalk-radio waterboys, sad to realize.
    Sidebar Two: See for the infandous deadly reality still a-formulating as NeoState police tactics in Missouri, quite perversely seeded by the USDoJ itself.
    I cannot make this material up from contrivance, my friends. Is there (was there ever) even a single a capital finance banker oath-bound to John 8:32? I, for one, doubt it.
    An old maker of glass flowers and skilled healer of “impossibly” damaged lab-glass Triple Seals who is known as Walking Turtle here and there has spoken. Nothing more than that; all who “feel” they “must” may now return to their prior blood-soaking, flesh-rending, rubble-bouncing socioeconomic paradigm-formulating if return they indeed must. (MUST? What twaddle! Feckless addicts, all such.)
    I, too, shall watch the entire streaming show, seeking as always ANY genuine sign of genuine change in the prior policy of everlasting warmaking that I as well as all others can genuinely for once BELIEVE IN. Then I shall speak far and wide by all the means at my command of what I have witnessed therein. Kindly DO archive the event so that all others may see and understand, Dear Webmaster! Genuine Democracy is made of such things as universally accessible public records of all manner of public events, y’know.
    And that is all. 🙂


  8. matt says:

    Love steve coll’s work, but what is his expertise in economics?


  9. erichwwk says:

    Just watched PBS news, and learned that “the stock market rose on the news that spending on durables, consisting mostly of military aircraft, are up.
    Here in NM the option to build a nuclear weapons factory ( The CMRR, now marketed as having other uses) is still in progress. At a cost of $4-6 Billion, it dwarfs other social projects in the state, with the largest current project being a light rail between Albuquerque, the largest city, and Santa Fe, the capital, at a cost of $400 Million. It dwarfs even the Chama/San Juan River diversion project and Cochiti dam
    One “could” replace U.S. consumer demand with more military expenditures. Those of us working on capital expenditures fail to understand the thinking that looks ONLY at replacing demand, implying that a nuclear weapons factory is “as good as” the many local clinics, schools and green energy projects that would be crowded out by that effort. Has committing $3 Trillion to GWOT been an “economic engine’?
    We are further troubled by the statements made by the Australian PM, that the plumber must suffer because a banker cooks the books, that there is no way to keep legitimate activities insulated from speculators, and the crooks must be coddled.
    I don’t see the public as agreeing that the London AIG FSP derivative traders’ contract to be paid on the volume of their sales, regardless of whether these “sales” caused a loss, should come from hard the pockets of hard working citizens that are doing legitimate work, while all that unearned cash sits on the sidelines, under the mattress, or in Swiss or Cayman Island accounts.
    As Willem Buiter writes:
    “I consider this use of the Federal Reserve as an active (quasi-)fiscal player to be extremely dangerous and highly undesirable from the point of view of the health of the democratic system of government in the US.”


  10. erichwwk says:

    Looking forward to this forum. I hope it will be archived as was the Olney “To the Point” show.
    However, I am more than a bit troubled by the framing of the problem as:
    “the most crucial [problem]is, what will replace the U.S. consumer as the world’s primary engine of growth?
    This implies that the problem is that we are sitting around idle, twiddling our thumbs, unable to decide what game to play, when the problem may be someone decided the ball was “theirs”, and took it home, and another decided all the fields belonged to them and could not be played upon.
    Isn’t the more crucial problem :
    “How can we change the rules such that people have an incentive to form the appropriate and most efficient relationships and institutions, so that they can specialize in the production and accumulation of common social capital, without that specialization resulting in those keeping the books deciding that all the output belongs to them, even if their involvement was a net drain, rather than a contribution, to the process?
    Isn’t the financial meltdown more a SYMPTOM, than a CAUSE of the recession? And the root cause a morally indefensible property right and incentive structure? Don’t we have a conceptual failure, rather than a failure to execute? A failure akin to the USSR inability to shed the ideological blinders of “Private property and markets are bad”, with our ideological albatross being “Common property and social institutions are bad”? Does not China’s success suggest a middle road?
    This framing suggests some throughput model that requires FLOWS to make the process work (so financial types have ample opportunity to skim?), rather than some STOCK model, where the emphasis is on healthy humans, rather than a lot of medical services activity and consumption that is better avoided altogether?
    Also of interest, from Brad DeLong:
    Before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs: LESSONS FROM THE NEW DEAL: Economic Policy
    Tuesday, March 31, 2009. 02:30 PM. 538 Dirksen Senate Office Building:
    The witness on Panel I will be The Honorable Christina Romer, Chair, Council of Economic Advisors.
    The witnesses on Panel II will be: Dr. James K. Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; Dr. J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics, University of California Berkeley; and Dr. Allan M. Winkler, Professor of History, Miami (Ohio) University.


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