Beware Of Politicians Bearing Household Analogies

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The British elec­tion cam­paign has begun, and Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron is run­ning with the slo­gan that his Con­ser­v­a­tive Party will deliver “A Britain liv­ing within its means” by run­ning a sur­plus on day-to-day gov­ern­ment spend­ing by 2017/18. It is, as the UK Tele­graph noted, hardly an inspir­ing slo­gan. But it is one that res­onates with vot­ers, because it sounds like the way they would like to man­age their own house­holds. And a house­hold budget—whether you bal­ance yours or not—is some­thing we can all under­stand. If a house­hold spends less than it earns, it can save money, or pay down its debt, or both. So it has to be good if a coun­try does the same thing, right?

Blogging on Forbes

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Some months ago, Jesse Columbo approached me about writ­ing an online col­umn for Forbes Mag­a­zine. That seemed a bet­ter fit for me than the Australian-oriented Busi­ness Spec­ta­tor, where I have been blog­ging for the last few years, so I decided to make the move. I’ll soon post my first col­umn at this loca­tion. I’ll fol­low the same approach with this blog as before, which is to post a teaser to a story here and then link through to the Forbes arti­cle. I’ll also con­tinue to post videos and inter­views directly here, as I do now.

Share Radio with Simon Rose

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I’m now doing a reg­u­lar spot with Simon Rose on Share Radio, a new inter­net radio sta­tion ded­i­cated to eco­nomic and finan­cial issues.

Simon Rose, Share Radio’s evening host.

To lis­ten to our lat­est conversation–covering Greece, aus­ter­ity, and why run­ning a sus­tained gov­ern­ment sur­plus is a great way to cause a future eco­nomic cri­sis, click on the play but­ton below.

Talks in Germany

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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.

L’Imposture Economique Hits #10 in France

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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.

Teaching Economics After the Crash

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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):

Launching Kingston’s Rethinking Economics Group

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Reposted from the Rethink­ing Eco­nom­ics website

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.

Hard Evidence: is the UK facing another financial crisis?

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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.

Crash Boom Pop in the Wall Street Journal

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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

Late notice: Minsky seminar at Kingston tomorrow

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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.