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2018 AFEE President's Letter

January 8, 2018

Dear AFEE Colleagues,

For 36 years, AFEE has provided a community in which I’ve collaborated with others to understand the economy in pursuit of a better world. During that time, the march of events has again and again proven the conventional wisdom wrong, especially about institutionalism being on its last breath. Institutionalism persists, endures, and remains as relevant as ever.

Of course, that doesn’t happen on its own. For the past year, Geoffrey Schneider guided the organization admirably as AFEE president. Under Geoff’s leadership, the organization’s publications committee helped select William Waller, an outstanding institutionalist, to edit the Journal of Economic Issues when Christopher Brown’s term ends later this year. (We thank Chris for excellent work and we welcome Bill.) Geoff was ably assisted by past president Deb Figart as well as by secretary-treasurer Eric Hake and association coordinator Teresa Rowell. We are so fortunate to have each of them as part of our community.

I wish to also recognize everyone who made it to the AFEE conference in Philadelphia despite the awful East Cost weather — and my thanks to all who tried but didn’t quite make it because of cancelled flights, delayed trains, and bad roads. In addition, congratulations to Jim Peach, the Veblen-Commons Award recipient; John Marangos, the Clarence E. Ayres Scholar; Felipe Almeida, the James H. Street Scholar; Janet Knoedler, recipient of the AFEE Service Award; and Muriel Périsse, winner of the JEI Editor’s Prize.

Congratulations also to David Zalewski, our new president-elect, and to the new members of the AFEE board of directors, Tonia Warnecke and Timothy Wunder. A huge thank you to outgoing Board members Barbara Wiens-Tuers and Tae-Hee Jo for their work on behalf of the association. And an equally warm thank you to all the committee members who completed important work for AFEE last year.

Committee assignments and charges for this year can be found in Appendix 1. Those charges aim to continue increasing AFEE’s visibility. For example, a key goal for the year is to recruit a web content editor and a social media coordinator. Those positions will take up the work done by Tim Wunder (yes, it takes two to replace him). Details regarding the positions are contained in Appendix 2. The Committee on Publications will lead this effort, and oversee the smooth transition to a new JEI editor.

Another important goal is to build on the recent work of the Committee for Regional and International Conferences (CRIC), which aims to organize AFEE panels at conferences around the world. If you have ideas for this committee, please contact Dave Zalewski.

In 2017, AFEE saw a noticeable increase in membership. The Committee on Membership will work to help us continue that progress. All members are encouraged to offer ideas to committee chair Iciar Dominguez Lacasa.

Members are also reminded about the AFEE Guest Speaker Support Fund. It matches institutional funds up to $600 to bring AFEE members to campuses for guest lectures. More information is available at afee.net or by contacting AFEE secretary-treasurer Eric Hake.

And, of course, please renew your AFEE membership. The vitality of our association depends on your ongoing participation. We appreciate your loyalty and interest in supporting evolutionary, institutional economics.

These are trying times for scholars and practitioners searching for practical ways to solve economic problems. All around, we see plenty of fire and fury, but not so much truth and light. At the moment, there’s not even much warmth; winter in America for sure.

But institutional economists don’t shy away from tough challenges. We understand that new occasions bring new duties, and we do what we can to continue onward and upward. After all, we’re AFEE — and what Galileo said of the Earth, we say about the economy, “Still it moves.”

With warm regards and hope for the future,

Charles J. Whalen
AFEE President, 2018


Appendix1 and Committees