George ("Mac") McCarthy directs the Ford Foundation's Metropolitan Opportunity work. His team focuses on providing low-income people in metropolitan regions, in the U.S. and in developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, better access to jobs and other opportunities by supporting better planning, infrastructure investment and housing development reduces poverty and the social isolation of the poor.
Prior to joining the Ford Foundation in 2000, Mac was a senior research associate at the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked as professor of economics at Bard College; resident scholar at the Jerome Levy Economics Institute; visiting scholar and member of the High Table at King's College of Cambridge University; visiting scholar at the University of Naples, Italy; and research associate at the Centre for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Mac earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master's degree in economics from Duke University and a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Montana.
Areas of Expertise
Economics, Mathematics, Urban and Regional Planning, Statistical Analysis, writing - creative nonfiction
An idea worth spreading
Economics is built on the myth of scarcity. Choices must be made to distribute finite resources among infinite wants and needs. But if more is always better, wants are always infinite. But what if wants and needs are not infinite? What if scarcity is an artificial construct that allows one to defend obviously unfair distribution of things? History is replete with examples of artificial scarcity run amok--famines in India, Bangladesh; homelessness in America. People starving when there is plenty of food; families without shelter in a country with too much housing. Perhaps we need a new science of choice predicated on different criteria. Perhaps that science might be based on minimizing pain before we maximize utility. Perhaps we distinguish between needs and wants and meet needs first.
I'm passionate about
Fairness--the policies, practices, and institutions that distribute power, wealth, goods, and agency.
Progress--permanent improvement, of self, society, planet.
Talk to me about
Urban policy, urban planning, economic history, economic forecasting, econometrics, greek mythology, astronomy, mortgage lending, housing policy
People don't know I'm good at
Crossword puzzles and all word games