Philip M. Parker (Ph.D. Wharton) is an economist whose research looks into why existing theories governing macroecomic growth and firm level competition yield unreliable forecasts of actual market outcomes. He introduced the idea that physical sciences (physics and physiology) should be directly integrated into macroeconomics. His contrarian research concludes that certain economic development measures (such as income per capita) can dramatically exaggerate the levels of poverty in a country, but also be poor indicators of future economic growth. Some of his work was published in his book: Physioeconomics: The Basis for Long-Run Economic Growth, (The MIT Press, 2000). In it, he forecasts global economic and demographic trends to the year 2100. He argues that critical economic axioms violate laws of physics and shows that convergence across nations is unlikely, if not impossible, in the long run. Free markets will, however, allow countries to converge to similar levels of well-being across individuals, but at dramatically different levels of income-based consumption (i.e. low income countries may remain so, but will not be “poorer” than high income countries), provided that citizens are given economic liberty. Wealth redistribution, from “richer” countries to “poorer” countries, in these cases, is not justified for the sake of “poverty reduction”, and may actually increase poverty.
He has also studied how firms generate market inefficiencies by relying on common forms of information asymmetry (creating markets for “sweet lemons” where low-quality products drive higher-quality products from the market, at higher prices). His work also debunks the notion that allowing more competitors in regulated markets (e.g. telecommunications), will lead to competition if remaining firms are allowed to cross-own or vertically integrate. His work has appeared in the Rand Journal of Economics, and the International Journal of Industrial Organization,, among others.
Beginning in March 1998, he launched a private initiative (dubbed the “K to 12 +2 project”) after directing a workshop for the World Bank which considered illiteracy. One aspect of this problem is the lack of educational materials in local languages (the smaller the language in population, the less likely the publishing industry will find it profitable to serve such communities, leaving some 1000 written languages without basic textbooks). Using automated authoring processes he pioneered, his international business publications have funded a variety of multilingual educational materials including a free online multilingual dictionary, PC games, videos and ebooks. He has applied this approach to support projects sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation creating thousands of factsheets (using meta analysis) on tropical plants, and is now working on automated rural radio scripts, call center materials serving smallholder farmers, and SMS content engines working with the GSM Association, the Grameen Foundation, and Farm Radio International in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and India, among other developing counties. As a hobby, he has applied graph theory to automatically author hundreds of thousands of didactic poems (limericks, sonnets, haiku, acrostics, etc.), and is on working fiction and academic studies.
Parker has been Professor of International Strategy and Economics at the University of California, San Diego, and has taught at Harvard University, MIT, Stanford University, and UCLA. He has taught courses in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe. He has degrees in Finance, and Economics.