Learn More About Nick Romeo
Why is economics generally considered a settled science when its major models depend on moral and political assumptions about human welfare and the natural world? In the view of renowned journalist Nick Romeo, economics is inseparable from politics and philosophy, and we don’t have to be prisoners to what are assumed to be inevitable economic laws.
“Most economics is just political philosophy with a veneer of science and numerical wizardry to shut down further discussion,” explains Romeo, a regular contributor to The New Yorker. “There’s a pretty widespread awareness that the current status quo is not working.”
Challenging the Status Quo: There Is an Alternative
As a journalist and researcher, Romeo traveled across Europe and saw examples of how some businesses, municipalities and even countries are doing things differently to shift the economic paradigm. With a goal of presenting realistic alternatives to the status quo, he doesn’t just offer analysis – Romeo presents real-world examples and case studies of ways businesses, governments and society as a whole can rethink economics.
In his highly anticipated debut book, “The Alternative: How to Build a Just Economy” (Public Affairs, January 2024), Romeo’s approach of pragmatic optimism for the future of global economic policy shows how some long-held truisms can be reimagined to give society a greater sense of choice and possibility.
“The book’s intervention is not simply to diagnose how and why the current system is wrong,” he explains. “It’s a very detailed portfolio of compelling experiments that show, in a non-utopian way – because they already exist – how we might more usefully arrange some aspects of the economy and of our political and social lives.”
Romeo’s extensive research resulted in profiles of innovative economic initiatives like Spain’s Mondragon which, with nearly 80,000 employees and annual revenues of $12.2 billion, is the world’s largest co-op. He also provides an in-depth analysis of the growing trend of putting corporate ownership into perpetual purpose trusts.
Romeo dedicates a chapter to living wages – what the term means, its history, and how a living wage is calculated in the first place. He also takes a detailed look at an Austrian municipality experimenting with guaranteed jobs, making a careful distinction between guaranteed jobs and guaranteed income.
“The function of work is not just the provision of income. It’s also a source of time structure, identity, community, meaning, purpose and more,” he says. “There’s something really meaningful and valuable about being part of the community where you’re all working on things you think are contributing in some way to something larger than yourself.”
On-The-Ground Journalism That Can Lead to Real Change
A practitioner of the disappearing art of research-driven, deep-dive journalism, Romeo is a gifted storyteller who presents a window into some of the great things happening across the world, how they can benefit society now and how anyone – from business leaders and politicians to everyday citizens – can take part.
“I wanted to create a narrative about the motives of people who are actually changing things, what their struggles are, and what we can do to contribute to the flourishing of some of these meaningful ideas,” reveals Romeo. “Together, we can create real systematic improvements to a lot of the fundamental economic drivers of well-being.”
Nick Romeo has spent years covering the world’s most innovative economic and policy ideas for The New Yorker. In addition, he has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review and many other publications. He teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
Nick Romeo is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.