The former Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan visited the Northeastern University recently. He talked about how the technological revolution of the past two decades has thrown the three pillars that hold up society-government, the markets, and community.
“As these three pillars had been working in harmony since World War II, so too had liberal market democracy. Calamities such as the Great Depression can bring disruption. But so can technological revolutions, such as the one we’re living in. What’s happening now is that as the pillars of government and the markets have been strengthened, in many ways the community pillar has been left behind” said Rajan, who is now an economist at the University of Chicago. He further pointed out that what worked in the West for much of the post-war period seems to be breaking down. He talked about his recently released book- The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind. He explains that the imbalance between the three pillars can lead to unrest and widespread anger in the form of populism, when people don’t see the capitalist system working for them anymore.
According to Rajan a return to strengthening and empowering local communities can be a solution. He doesn’t advocate a radical change, but rather asks to reimagine the balance between the three pillars. He said: “One of the things we can do is pull power back from international to national, and from the national to the local”. He further added “Raising barriers to international trade and immigration are short-sighted solutions to global problems”.
Raj Echambadi, the inaugural Dunton Family Dean of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, brought forward similarities between Rajan’s message about technology and Northeastern’s global vision. He said “The University’s academic plan, Northeastern 2025, focuses on building networks for lifelong learning, and preparing students to be agile learners and thinkers in the age of artificial intelligence”. “It has provided an opportunity for Northeastern to lead a revolution in higher education,” Echambadi concluded.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman