I gave talks to students in Berlin and Hamburg last week at the invitation of of Rethinking Economics groups at Berlin Free University and the University of Hamburg. Both groups asked me to cover some of the critiques of mainstream economics that I provide in Debunking Economics, as well as covering the monetary approach to Post Keynesian economics that has been the focus of most of my more recent public lectures.
Bravo to Les Editions de l’Atelier, the publishers of L’Imposture Economique (the French translation of Debunking Economics), who have achieved the seemingly impossible: L’Imposture Economique entered the Top Ten out of all books on Amazon France yesterday (December 4th 2014). It was the top-selling non-fiction book, outranking even Piketty’s Capital (as I write, L’Imposture is #12 in books while Capital is #53).
I don’t expect it to last at that ranking, but I didn’t expect it to achieve that position in the first place, so it feels great to see it there. Congratulations again to Les Editions de l’Atelier, and to Gael Giraud who took the initiative in arranging its translation into French.
The Guardian’s senior economics commentator Aditya Chakrabortty has produced an excellent BBC Radio 4 program on the failure of academic economics to reform itself after the Crash of 2007: Teaching Economics After the Crash. The first interview is with Kingston University’s own Devrim Yilmaz. It also includes me, George Soros, Andy Haldane, Ha-Joon Chang, the students who began the Post Crash Economics Society at Manchester University, Diane Coyle (who played a large role in developing the CORE curriculum, of which I’m very critical), Philip Mirowski (who describes CORE as “lipstick on a pig”), Rob Johnson of INET, and many more. It’s well worth a listen (it opens with about 20 seconds of a promo for a later program on a paralympian):
Students at Kingston University kicked off a campaign for a new approach to economics with the successful launch of new society Rethinking Economics Kingston this week.
Almost 100 people squeezed in to hear Professor Steve Keen – newly appointed head of the School of Economics, Politics and History – launch the new society with a speech on what’s wrong with mainstream economics and how students should change it.
Professor Keen — author of Debunking Economics and well-known critic of mainstream economics – described how theories taught in most economic classes were unable to predict, understand or even take on board the recent financial crisis.
Taken at face value, David Cameron’s warning this week about risks in the global economy sounds like it might be wonderfully prescient. Here’s the country’s economic chauffeur, carefully checking his instrument gauges, and sure enough, sees the same signs today that should have given us warning of the crisis of 2007-08. Time to apply the brakes.
There’s only one problem: the economic dashboard that Cameron relies upon did not warn of the crisis before it happened. Instead, that dashboard advised Cameron and other leaders around the world that everything was looking rosy, and that going full throttle was entirely safe.
The Crash Boom Pop! cartoon book version of Debunking Economics has just been covered in the Wall Street Journal:
Overheard: Pow! Zap! Wham! Get Ready For Comic Book Economics
So Wall Street Journal readers, if you’d like to pay back those mainstream economists who forced you to suffer through classes on the “Efficient Markets Hypothesis”, or worse yet, assured you that the economy was fine in June 2007, head over to Kickstarter and fund a cartoon that will take the mickey out of them.
Click here to go to the Crash Boom Pop! Kickstarter page
This is late notice for a seminar being held tomorrow (Wednesday 12th) from 6-8pm at Kingston University’s Penrhyn Road campus in room JG4003 (4th floor of the main teaching building at Kingston) to introduce the system dynamics modeling program Minsky.
System dynamics programs allow dynamic models to be constructed using flowcharts to define and simulate the equations of a system. Minsky adds something no other program has: a simple means of modeling financial flows.
This seminar will introduce the concept of system dynamics in general, and also the unique feature of Minsky: the use of a double-entry bookkeeping tool called a “Godley Table” to model financial flows, which are impossibly difficult to model in the standard flowchart paradigm employed by all other system dynamics programs.
My fellow Post Keynesian and good mate Professor John Harvey published an excellent piece on his Forbes blog today, pointing out the fallacy of composition in the pro-austerity. He took his cue from anti-austerity riots in Belgium:
Riot police have fired tear gas and water cannon during clashes with demonstrators as at least 100,000 people marched through Brussels in the first mass protests against government austerity measures. (“Belgian protesters clash with police over pensions and pay”, BBC News Europe)
Then he pointed out that the pro-austerity argument is fallacy of composition. That’s a hard concept to get through—especially, it turns out, to conventionally trained economists. So John used a brilliant example from American football:
Cartoonist Miguel Guerra and I went on The Keiser Report to talk about the project to produce a comic book (or “graphic novel”) version of Debunking Economics. Check out the interview, and then please head over to either Kickstarter or Startjoin to help this project come into being. We’re interviewed in the second half of the show, starting at the 12 minute mark in the video below.
Samuelson once wrote that he didn’t care who wrote a country’s laws, so long as he wrote the textbooks. Let’s get in front of Samuelson, and write the comic book that undermines his textbooks.
SOAS is holding an event to recognise the late Fred Lee’s outstanding contributions to developing a realistic microeconomics.
Date: 22 November 2014
Time: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre
Fred’s work is well known to Post Keynesian economists, especially through his monumental work Post Keynesian Price Theory, which documented the many empirical studies into the actual cost structures of firms–all of which contradict the fairy tale of rising marginal cost portrayed in mainstream economic textbooks. He also campaigned to promote the realistic approach to economics that is the hallmark of Post Keynesian economics–in contrast to the “let’s assume we have a can opener” approach of Neoclassical economics.