Today Tonight’s “Changing Times”

Flattr this!

Today Tonight’s James Thomas put togeth­er “Chang­ing Times”, an excel­lent pro­gram on what a Depres­sion is like, and the dan­ger that we may be fac­ing one today.

The cen­tre­piece of the sto­ry was an inter­view with Eric Aarons, who at almost 90, lived through the Great Depres­sion. His rec­ol­lec­tions frame an item that includes archival footage of the then Labor Par­ty Prime Min­is­ter Scullin describ­ing the tur­moil of 1929 with the words “Aus­tralia is fac­ing today the gravest finan­cial cri­sis in its his­to­ry”.

Plus ca change…

If you haven’t seen Chang­ing Times yet, please do so.

PS Eric Aarons is a renowned sculp­tor and author–I will be launch­ing his lat­est book Marx and Hayek at Glee­books on April 24th. In an ear­li­er phase in a long and rich life, he played a piv­otal role in the Com­mu­nist Par­ty of Aus­tralia, from its incep­tion to its vol­un­tary liq­ui­da­tion in the ear­ly 1990s. The ABC pro­duced a doc­u­men­tary on the Aarons fam­i­ly in its Dynas­ties series which described it as “the roy­al fam­i­ly of Aus­tralian Com­mu­nism”.

Eric and I met in an inci­den­tal way via his excel­lent mem­oirs of that life­time in the Left, What’s Left? I hap­pened to read it while doing my PhD on mod­el­ling finan­cial insta­bil­i­ty, and I was struck by both its wis­dom and human­i­ty.

Then some years lat­er, Eric read my book Debunk­ing Eco­nom­ics. This was pri­mar­i­ly a cri­tique of neo­clas­si­cal eco­nom­ics, but it also con­tained a cri­tique of con­ven­tion­al Marx­ism in a chap­ter enti­tled “Noth­ing to lose but their minds”. In it I argued that Marx’s philo­soph­i­cal log­ic in fact con­tra­dict­ed the labor the­o­ry of val­ue, which  was a linch­pin of the case for social­ism; with that linch­pin shown to be false, so too was the case for social­ism as an alter­na­tive to cap­i­tal­ism.

He con­tact­ed me to dis­cuss my argu­ment, with which he agreed. We became firm friends, and we reg­u­lar­ly con­sult each oth­er on eco­nom­ics, pol­i­tics and phi­los­o­phy. I hope that I live as long and as pro­duc­tive a life as has Eric–but even if I do, I will nev­er be the artist he has become. Watch the pro­gram for its insights, but also take a close look at the mag­nif­i­cent Eter­nal Con­ver­sa­tions that is Eric’s mas­ter­piece in a long career as a sculp­tor.

Bookmark the permalink.

About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.