The Power And The Impotence Of The ECB

flattr this!

I’ve attended two con­fer­ences in two days where both the power and the impo­tence of the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank (EBC) have been on vivid display.

Its polit­i­cal power is con­sid­er­able, both in form and in sub­stance. At both sem­i­nars, the ECB speaker—ECB Board mem­ber Peter Praet at the first, and ECB Pres­i­dent Mario Draghi at the second—spoke first, and then left. In form, the ECB has no need to defend its poli­cies because it is unim­peach­able in its exe­cu­tion of them. In sub­stance, it does not even con­sid­er­ing engag­ing with its subjects—I use the word deliberately—in open and robust discussion.

Lecture05 Why Economists Disagree: The common blindspot on the Environment

flattr this!

The posi­tion of the econ­omy in the envi­ron­ment is a shared blindspot in eco­nom­ics: no exist­ing school han­dles the topic well, and yet this is the key issue we need to under­stand. I explain the Laws of Thermodynamics–as well as I could in an intro­duc­tory class with­out using mathematics–and pro­vide some links to impor­tant top­ics that stu­dents wouldn’t nor­mally hear about in an eco­nom­ics degree.

Click here for the Pow­er­point slides.

Becoming An Economist Lecture 4: Post Keynesians

flattr this!

This lec­ture cov­ers the Post Key­ne­sian school of thought in eco­nom­ics, focus­ing mainly on its mod­ern empha­sis upon endoge­nous money, sec­toral bal­ances, and Minsky’s Finan­cial Insta­bil­ity Hypoth­e­sis. I also show how to do non-equilibrium mod­el­ing (using my Open Source mod­el­ing pro­gram Min­sky of course).

Click here to down­load the Pow­er­point slides.

The Unnatural Rate Of Interest (Ultra-Wonkish)

flattr this!

Paul Krugman’s lat­est col­umn—“Check Out Our Low, Low (Nat­ural) Rates” (which he didn’t flag as “Wonk­ish”, even though it is so in spades—noted that the “nat­ural real rate of inter­est” was falling, and that this jus­ti­fied the low inter­est rate set by the Fed­eral Reserve.

And this made me think about Karl Marx.

Click here to read the rest of this post.

Economists Prove That Capitalism Is Unnecessary

flattr this!

Actu­ally they’ve done no such thing. But they do effec­tively assume that it’s unnec­es­sary all the time.

This tran­scen­den­tal truth became appar­ent to me in the reac­tions I have had from main­stream econ­o­mists to a lec­ture I gave to my Kingston stu­dents this month (which is posted on my YouTube chan­nel and blog).

Click here to read the rest of this post.

Lecture 3 in Becoming an Economist at Kingston University

flattr this!

This lec­ture intro­duce the Aus­trian school of thought, which is closely related to the Neo­clas­si­cal mainstream–in that it shares its util­i­tar­ian the­ory of value, accepts basic sup­ply and demand analy­sis, and sees cap­i­tal­ism as gen­er­ally tend­ing towards equi­lib­rium. But it is also highly crit­i­cal of the main­stream for the absurd assump­tions about indi­vid­ual knowl­edge that it is will­ing to make to pre­serve its equilibrium-oriented math­e­mat­i­cal approach. It sees capitalism’s strengths as how it encour­ages inno­va­tion, which is an equilibrium-disturbing process, and regards money as being both inte­gral to cap­i­tal­ism and the pri­mary source of eco­nomic cycles.

Edinburgh University Talk: financial instability, endogenous money & government budgets

flattr this!

This talk cov­ers all “the usual sus­pects” for me–the Neo­clas­si­cal obses­sion with equi­lib­rium, finan­cial insta­bil­ity, the Loan­able Funds myth and the real­ity of Endoge­nous Money, and the fool­ish­ness of gov­ern­ments try­ing to run a sur­plus as if they are house­holds, when the bet­ter anal­ogy is that they are banks and should run deficits to cre­ate part of the money sup­ply the non-bank pri­vate sec­tor needs.

Click here to down­load the Pow­er­point file (Min­sky files are embed­ded in it and can also be extracted and saved to your PC, if you’d like to play with them).

Lecture 2 in “Becoming an Economist” at Kingston University

flattr this!

Becom­ing an Econ­o­mist is the intro­duc­tory course on eco­nom­ics for under­grad­u­ates at Kingston Uni­ver­sity. This is the sec­ond of 11 lec­tures in the sub­ject; I’ll post the oth­ers as I write them over the next few months. This lec­ture dis­cusses why the Main­stream approach, start­ing from the fun­da­men­tal ques­tion Wal­ras posed “Can a sys­tem of free mar­kets reach a set of prices that ensures that sup­ply equals demand in all markets?”

The answer was “No”, but that didn’t stop the “Equi­lib­rium Fetish Jug­ger­naut” that Wal­ras unleashed.

This is the Pow­er­point file for the lecture.

Call for papers for new journal on private debt

flattr this!

The Pri­vate Debt Project (this web­site will become active as of Decem­ber 2015) invites pro­pos­als for arti­cles, papers, and research notes related to the study of pri­vate debt and its rela­tion­ship to eco­nomic growth and finan­cial sta­bil­ity. The Project will pro­vide hon­o­rar­ium for all pub­lished work. In cases involv­ing papers with orig­i­nal research, it will also con­sider small research grants to help cover the cost of the research.

Com­mis­sioned arti­cles, papers, and research notes will be pub­lished on The Pri­vate Debt Project’s on-line jour­nal and will be dis­sem­i­nated to a wide audi­ence of aca­d­e­mics, pol­icy experts, gov­ern­ment offi­cials, investors, and busi­ness leaders.

Fellowship for economic journalism

flattr this!

The Friends Prov­i­dent Foun­da­tion has just estab­lished a Fel­low­ship for UK jour­nal­ism to pro­duce a “a sig­nif­i­cant work of long form jour­nal­ism in any medium on the theme of build­ing resilient economies.”

I’ve copied the full press release below. For fur­ther details, click on this link. The full press release is copied below.

Jour­nal­ist Fel­low­ship 2016

The Foundation’s trustees have cre­ated a jour­nal­ist fel­low­ship to build a bet­ter under­stand­ing of eco­nom­ics in the wider pub­lic by work­ing with a lead­ing jour­nal­ist to cre­ate a sig­nif­i­cant work of long form jour­nal­ism in any medium on the theme of build­ing resilient economies.