Hewlett Foundation launches $50 million Economy and Society Initiative

Hewlett Foundation launches $50 million Economy and Society Initiative

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has announced a five-year, $50 million initiative aimed at developing a new intellectual paradigm to replace neoliberalism.

The foundation's Economy and Society Initiative will support efforts to develop a coherent framework and movement to supplant neoliberalism, the set of market-oriented beliefs and policies that has dominated U.S. and global economic and political debates for more than forty years. To that end, the initiative will fund thinkers and organizations in the United States and abroad working to develop a new "common sense" about how the relationship between governments, markets, and people should be structured to meet challenges such as growing economic and racial inequality and climate change. 

Over the last two years, the foundation has awarded grants totaling nearly $20 million to a diverse group of leaders, thinkers, and organizations. Recipients of those grants include Oren Cass, executive director of American Compass, a conservative think tank focused on the role of family, community, and industry in the nation's prosperity; Repairers of the Breach, a nonprofit led by Rev. William Barber II that is working to advance a faith-based moral agenda focused on rights and dignity; and the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank led by Felicia Wong that champions new ideas "to make our economy and democracy work for the many, not the few."

"Neoliberalism's emphasis on free-market absolutism has outlived its usefulness, as evidenced by the fact that it's worsening some of our biggest problems, like skyrocketing wealth inequality and the unfolding climate crisis," said Hewlett Foundation president Larry Kramer. "But addressing problems like these requires more than one-off policy ideas, activist pressure, and incremental change. We need a new way of thinking about policy, law, and the proper role of government to shift the underlying terms of debate and open up space for solutions that neoliberalism is currently choking off."