As I explain in this video, government attempts to turn University entrance into a marketplace have had the unintended side-effect of undermining pluralist economics. The UK government has removed controls on the number of places that Universities can offer in first year courses, and as a result there has been an increase in humanities places offered by highly ranked Universities. Final year high school students have flocked to these Universities, and enrolments at lower-ranked Universities have fallen substantially.
This has the side effect of undermining non-mainstream economics, just when the world has started to appreciate that another approach is needed. The reason is that over the last four decades, Neoclassical economists have purged the most prestigious Universities: as they retired, non-Neoclassical economists were consistently replaced by Neoclassical ones.
Only lower-ranked Universities gave non-Neoclassical staff a chance, which is why pluralist economics programs have developed there and nowhere else. Now these programs are under threat as a by-product of this attempt to create a University marketplace.
When I first came to the UK in 2014, Kingston was happy for me to spend much of my time engaging with the public through blog posts, media appearances, and public talks. This helped promote Kingston, as well as allowing me to spread the message that economics needed a drastic overhaul.
But given the decline in enrolments, Kingston now needs “all hands on deck”: I was given the choice of either going to a full teaching load (which would leave me with no time for my public activities), or maintaining my current load at a reduced salary.
I opted for the latter. Just in the last year, several leading mainstream economists (Kocherlokota, Blanchard, Romer) have acknowledged the need for serious change in economics. There is widespread awareness now in the public for the need to reform economics. Now is the time to build on those foundations, which I can’t do if I have to take on a full teaching load.
So I’ve decided to see if I can maintain my role as a public intellectual by being funded by the public through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen. It’s off to a good start: after less than ten days, 190 patrons have pledged about US$1900 a month. That is about 20% of the way to my first goal of US$10,000 a month, which is roughly equivalent to my salary.
Beyond that, I can fund the continuous development of Minsky, hire a research assistant, and ultimately develop online courses in economics–which will be more viable than trying to teach realistic economics at lowly ranked universities, whose funding is always tenuous and may, in the UK, now be terminal.
If you’ve benefited from my challenging of mainstream economics, and my development of a realistic, dynamic, monetary alternative approach, please consider signing up to Patreon and supporting my work. It can be for as little as US$1 a month.