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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.

PatreonScreenShot190Patrons1700USD20170318

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.

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.
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  • Bhaskara II

    Pro­fes­sor Keen,

    Here is a story about a lady who lives on a sail boat in Lon­don. It costs her less money but more work, and less space for stuff.

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/29/ten-years-living-on-a-boat-its-a-fun-life-im-not-a-watery-hobo

    I also read, your com­plaints about train costs. I have won­dered if you lived short com­mut­ing dis­tance to the river or a canal you could com­mute partly by small boat with an out­board motor to Kingston U. You could travel at 20 mph on a flat water day.

  • conall­boyle

    Patreon sounds OK, but when I tried to make a con­tri­bu­tion it charged me VAT! Plus a ser­vice charge. To donate $100 to you will cost me $125.

    Can’t I donate more directly, (and in GBP? why waste more on FX charges?)

  • pin­tosal

    Hi Steve, none of the links work on your Lec­ture page.

  • I can set that up if desired Conall. I’ll arrange it in late April after my book launch. And thanks.

  • I know. An ISP crash trashed the site and they were all lost. I’m pay­ing a con­sul­tant now to repair the site.

  • Bhaskara II

    Happy Belated Birth­day Pro­fes­sor Keen!

  • Conall­Boyle

    Patreon still want to charge 20% VAT on my dona­tions, AND treat what you receive as tax­able income. What a bum­mer!

    There must be a bet­ter way to fund an edu­ca­tional and research ‘char­ity’ such a Steve Keen. 

    Pub­lish your bank sort code and account num­ber and see what ‘gifts’ you receive.

  • Bijou Smith

    There is a lot of greed asso­ci­ated with these more lax entrance poli­cies. My cur­rent uni­ver­sity is tee­ter­ing dan­ger­ously on the edge of try­ing to attract more stu­dents to increase rev­enue from fees. I wish you the best in fund­ing devel­op­ment of Min­sky and your other work. Although I’m a physi­cist, not an econ­o­mist, I would offer to help in any small projects in your soft­ware devel­op­ment that you think you can farm out to a math­e­mat­i­cal physi­cist (I’d do it for no fee since I’m look­ing for some inter­est­ing research to dig into), so feel free to send me an idea or two to work on. (Since I’d do it pro bono you’d not get any guar­an­tee date of com­ple­tion.) Why you might ask? My physics research has grown to be either too eso­teric to pub­lish, or on the other side too sane and bor­ing for me to bother with, and help­ing far-sighted social sci­en­tists seems like a much bet­ter con­tri­bu­tion of one’s life.