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Wright Discusses Economic Challenges

Abolishing government-sponsored enterprises, reforming credit rating agencies and learning from past mistakes will stop America from “Dying by Degrees," according to Dr. Robert Wright, Nef Family chair of Political Economy at Augustana and director of the new Thomas Willing Institute for the Study of Financial Markets, Institutions, and Regulations.

In a program at Augustana's Center for Western Studies earlier this week, Wright discussed the causes and consequences of, and potential cures for, some of the U.S. economy’s most troubled areas, including healthcare, Social Security and construction.

"The core cause of the economy’s plight, I believe, is our society’s collective inability to first identify and then ameliorate what I call hybrid failures. No, not a Prius that won’t start, but rather complex combinations of market failures and government failures that fester for decades until the infected sector or industry functions so poorly that vaguely obscene military acronyms become apropos," Wright said.

Read Dr. Wright's remarks.

Dr. Wright received his bachelor’s degree in history from Buffalo State College in 1990, his master’s degree in history from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1994 and his PhD from SUNY at Buffalo in 1997. Before coming to Augustana, Dr. Wright served as Clinical Associate Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University. He was also a guest curator for the Museum of American Finance. Dr. Wright has written for Barron’s, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes.com and has appeared on National Public Radio, C-SPAN, and BBC.

He has authored or co-authored 14 books, including One Nation Under Debt: Hamilton, Jefferson and the History of What We Owe (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008), which explores the untold history of America’s first national debt, arising from the immense sums needed to conduct the American Revolution. Another title, Financial Founding Fathers (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), is a compelling account of the nation’s early finances.