Help Wanted

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As reg­u­lar read­ers of this site would appre­ci­ate, some of the lyrics of Frank Sina­tra’s I did it my way apply to me in spades:

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew,
When I bit off more than I could chew…

That has become chron­ic, now that I am try­ing to fin­ish the sec­ond edi­tion of Debunk­ing Eco­nom­ics by the mid­dle of Feb­ru­ary (to be pub­lished hope­ful­ly in Sep­tem­ber by Zed Books). Once I’ve sent the draft off to Zed, I plan to start work on my “mag­num opus” Finance and Eco­nom­ic Break­down for Edward Elgar Pub­lish­ers–a task that will take at least a year, if not two.

Giv­en these huge writ­ing tasks plus my work­load from the blog, my aca­d­e­m­ic career, and media inter­views, many things that I sim­ply have to do are not going to be done, unless I get some assis­tance.

First and fore­most this relates to the Cen­tre for Eco­nom­ic Sta­bil­i­ty Incor­po­rat­ed, a research char­i­ty that I formed with the help of Debt­watch mem­bers back in March 2010. While an organ­i­sa­tion­al struc­ture and a pre­lim­i­nary web pres­ence were devel­oped by Matt Car­roll, this organ­i­sa­tion now needs some for­mal input if it is to ful­fil the require­ments for on-going reg­is­tra­tion as a research char­i­ty, let alone to become an effec­tive body.

The most press­ing need is to have the accounts audit­ed to meet the require­ments of the NSW Office of Fair Trad­ing, under which it is incor­po­rat­ed. The Asso­ci­a­tion was incor­po­rat­ed on March 12th 2010, so a finan­cial report is need­ed for the peri­od from then till March 11th 2011 inclu­sive.

The rev­enues and expen­di­tures of the Cen­tre have been mod­est to date: these were main­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the costs of the Walk to Kosciuszko back in April 2010, some tech­nol­o­gy and soft­ware pur­chas­es, and some very small pay­ments to Matt while he worked on the Cen­tre’s web pres­ence. I have kept paper and com­put­er records, though to a stan­dard that reflects my “Frank Sina­tra prob­lem”,  rather than to one that would make an audi­tor hap­py, so there will be some work involved in bring­ing it all togeth­er.

There is a small amount of mon­ey in the Cen­tre’s accounts–provided by dona­tions through the donate wid­get on this site–which could pay for the audit if required. So the first bit of assis­tance I would like is from a qual­i­fied audi­tor in NSW (prefer­ably Sydney–I live in and large­ly work from my house in Sur­ry Hills, so some­one with­in easy reach of here would be best) to pre­pare an annu­al finan­cial report. This report could be com­menced any­time after March 11th 2011.

Sec­ond­ly, an annu­al meet­ing has to be held, at which atten­dees would have to ful­fil the fee pay­ment options decid­ed by the inau­gur­al meet­ing to form the cen­tre back in March 2010. These were that mem­bers with incomes should pay $100 per year, and those with­out $25. The meet­ing does not need to be held any time soon–the rules require a first meet­ing to be held with­in 18 months of incor­po­ra­tion, so we have until Sep­tem­ber 11th (what a coin­ci­dence…) to do so–but it would be good to get a com­mit­tee togeth­er to start organ­is­ing that event.

Speak­ing of a com­mit­tee, this was the man­age­ment com­mit­tee as formed at the meet­ing back in March:

Pres­i­dent: Steve Keen

Pub­lic Offi­cer: Matt Car­roll

Vice Pres­i­dent: Craig Tin­dale

Trea­sur­er: Meli­na For­rest

Sec­re­tary: Chris Osborne

Oth­er com­mit­tee mem­bers: Joe McIvor; David Law­son

Large­ly because I have been so busy, no for­mal meet­ings of this com­mit­tee have yet occurred. If the Cen­tre is to grow, I need to be able to leave its devel­op­ment in the hands of these and oth­er indi­vid­u­als, while I am con­sumed with my research and writ­ing com­mit­ments. If these and any oth­er indi­vid­u­als who would be able to devote some time on a reg­u­lar basis to mak­ing the Cen­tre a func­tion­al body, I would like to hold a meet­ing with you in late March or ear­ly April in Syd­ney to organ­ise both the Cen­tre and the AGM.

I chose a par­tic­u­lar­ly inap­pro­pri­ate venue for the last meeting–a restau­rant whose “pri­vate din­ing room” was sim­ply cor­doned off from the rest of restau­rant by curtains–so I’ll try to arrange a more suit­able venue this time (some­where like Human­ist House in Chip­pen­dale, or the Syd­ney Mechan­ics School of Arts in the city–if there are any read­ers who can help arrange a room book­ing at either venue, please con­tact me), both for pre­lim­i­nary meet­ings and the AGM itself.

I am pleased to say that some Web-design and busi­ness pro­fes­sion­als are doing pro-bono work to improve the front end to both this blog and, ulti­mate­ly, the CfES home page. Anton Andreac­chio and col­leagues at Con­ver­gen are devel­op­ing a new inter­face for Debt­watch which will go live here short­ly, and Col­in McK­ay of Home­Link is assist­ing  as well. So hope­ful­ly the blog’s appear­ance will improve dra­mat­i­cal­ly in the near future, and the mem­ber­ship pro­ce­dures and the like for the Cen­tre will be auto­mat­ed as well.

On the Cen­tre itself, I am aware that a fee of $100 is a sub­stan­tial ask, and I need to pro­vide some “val­ue for mon­ey” to moti­vate mem­ber­ship. Help­ing to devel­op a real­is­tic approach to eco­nom­ics is a good reward, but some­thing per­son­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial would also be good. How­ev­er I don’t want to make this some­thing that made this blog less accessible–I want to keep this freely available–so what I am con­sid­er­ing is offer­ing a month­ly “Mas­ter Class” in eco­nom­ics.

This would be derived from my many lec­tures on eco­nom­ics which are avail­able on this site, but would use the screen record­ing tech­nol­o­gy employed in this post, and be audi­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion sem­i­nars as well using soft­ware like GoToMeet­ing. I’ve record­ed one such sem­i­nar with Phil Dob­bie of BNet Aus­tralia, and it worked real­ly well.

I will also see if I can arrange dis­counts on my books with Zed and Edward Elgar for mem­bers of the Cen­tre.

So if you can help out on any of the above, please con­tact me at this email address. Thanks in advance, Steve Keen.

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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.