A National Investment Authority: New Tools to Rebuild America’s Economy

March 24, 2022

10:30am Virtual

Date and Time:
March 24, 2022 | 10:30 – 11:30 a.m PT  | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m ET


The American economy has suffered from waves of underinvestment for over four decades. American infrastructure become increasingly outdated, and we have lost the capacity and know-how to produce many critical materials needed to run a prosperous, high-wage economy. This is especially dire as a new round of capital investment will be needed to prepare America and the world for the dangers of climate change. Tackling these challenges will take a radically new approach to economic governance and the reinvention of political and financial institutions.

The Berggruen Institute is pleased to host a conversation with Senior Fellow, Dr. Saule Omarova, in which we present her new report, “Building a National Investment Authority.” Omarova’s report — introduced by Future of Capitalism Program Associate Director, Yakov Feygin — outlines the necessity and operations of a hybrid development bank and investment fund that shapes finance for the public good. The report shows us how this new entity can not only create new capacity in the economy but also radically democratize finance.

About the Speakers:

Dr. Saule Omarova
Saule Omarova is the Beth and Marc Goldberg Professor Law and the Director of the Clarke Program on the Law and Regulation of Financial Institutions and Markets at Cornell University. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. from Northwestern University. Prior to joining academia, Saule practiced law at Davis, Polk & Wardwell in New York and served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Special Advisor for Regulatory Policy to the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance. Saule is one of the country’s leading academic experts on law and finance, with a focus on systemic risk regulation and structural trends in financial markets. She is the author of numerous articles published in leading law journals and edited volumes. Her research on the roles of financial evolution and regulatory accommodation in the transformation of American banking has drawn attention among U.S. legislators, who regularly seek her advice and Congressional testimony. At the Berggruen Institute, Saule will be working on institutional design for financing sustainable and equitable economic development.

Dr. Yakov Feygin
Dr. Yakov Feygin is responsible for developing the research agenda, projects, initiatives and partnerships for the Future of Capitalism program at the Berggruen Institute. As a core part of the Berggruen Institute’s work to develop and promote long-term answers to the biggest challenges of the 21st Century, the Future of Capitalism program will work to identify new ideas, models and mechanisms about how to manage and legitimate market economies.

Prior to joining the Berggruen Institute, Yakov was a fellow in History and Policy at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and managing editor of The Private Debt Project. In these capacities, he conducted and coordinated research into international political economy, financialization, and comparative economics systems.

Feygin holds a Ph.D. in History with a focus on economic history from the University of Pennsylvania. His forthcoming book, Building a Ruin: The International and Domestic Politics of Economic Reform in the Soviet Union will be published by Harvard University Press. He has taught courses in international political economy, money and banking and business history and held fellowships from the Institute for New Economic Thinking, The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.

RAVE (IRCAM 2021) https://github.com/acids-ircam/RAVE