Fear that failure of a large complex financial institution can cause severe damage to the economy has created a pervasive bailout mentality among policymakers in the United States. As a result the federal government has committed huge amounts of taxpayer dollars, intervened in a host of normally private–sector activities, and induced excessive risk‐taking by people expecting the bailout policy to continue. Americans are understandably angry about a policy which rescues the people who take risks and fail at the expense of everyone else. But how can we reduce the bailouts? As George Shultz puts it, “If clear and credible measures can be put into place that convince everybody that failure will be allowed, then the bailouts, and the expectations of bailouts, will recede and perhaps even disappear.” The purpose of this workshop is to propose, present, and debate such measures.
Stephen Haber, Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the A.A. and Jeanne Welch Milligan Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, discussed “The Ecological Origins of Economic and Political Systems.”
Lawrence Summers, President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University, and former U.S. treasury secretary, talked about “Responsible Nationalism.”