My Friend Yanis, The Greek Minister Of Finance

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I first met Yanis Varo­ufakis when he was a senior lec­turer (the 3rdstep in the 5-tiered Aus­tralian sys­tem, equiv­a­lent to a Pro­fes­sor in the USA) at Syd­ney Uni­ver­sity in the late 1980s, and I was a tutor (the 1st step) at the Uni­ver­sity of New South Wales. We’ve been friends ever since, and now he has become glob­ally promi­nent as the Finance Min­is­ter of the most trou­bled and high pro­file econ­omy on the planet, Greece.

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Dawn Of A New Politics In Europe?

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About 40 years ago, one of Mag­gie Thatcher’s chief advi­sors remarked that he wouldn’t be sat­is­fied when the Con­ser­v­a­tive Party was in gov­ern­ment: he would only be happy when there were two con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties vying for office.

He got his wish of course.

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It’s All The Greeks’ Fault

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The polls were right: Greece did elect Syriza, the left-wing coali­tion party (its name is actu­ally a Greek acronym for “Coali­tion of the Rad­i­cal Left”), bring­ing to power the first staunchly anti-austerity party in the EU, and the first ele­ment in their pol­icy doc­u­ment is to “Write-off the greater part of pub­lic debt”.

That is likely to lead to some frac­tious nego­ti­a­tions with the EU, and pos­si­bly even a messy exit from the Euro. Before that hap­pens, there will be some messy com­men­tary in the media as well, and I fully expect most com­men­ta­tors to take a line like that in my title.

Interview with Gordon Long on Financial Repression

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I was inter­viewed by Gor­don Long for the Finan­cial Repres­sion web­site last week. The video is below; a brief sum­mary of our dis­cus­sion is posted on the Finan­cial Repres­sion web­site and repro­duced below.



Interview with Lelde Smits on Finance News Network

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I was inter­viewed by Lelde Smits for the Finance News Net­work on my recent trip back to Syd­ney. Below is the begin­ning of the tran­script; you can read the rest by click­ing on this link. Or click below to watch the inter­view with Lelde.

Tran­script of Finance News Net­work inter­view with Kingston Uni­ver­sity Head of Eco­nom­ics, Pol­i­tics and His­tory, Dr Steve Keen

Lelde Smits: Hello, I’m Lelde Smits for the Finance News Net­work and join­ing me from London’s Kingston Uni­ver­sity is Head of Eco­nom­ics, Pol­i­tics and His­tory, Dr Steve Keen. Steve, wel­come back to Syd­ney and to FNN.

PhD lecture series in advanced macroeconomics in Post-Keynesian, institutionalist, and Marxian political economy

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Uni­ver­sity of Green­wich and Kingston Uni­ver­sity are jointly orga­niz­ing a series of lec­tures in advanced macro­eco­nom­ics based on a polit­i­cal econ­omy approach com­bin­ing insti­tu­tion­al­ist, Key­ne­sian and Marx­ist tra­di­tions. The lec­ture series builds on the research exper­tise of staff in polit­i­cal econ­omy at both uni­ver­si­ties, and is designed orig­i­nally for our PhD stu­dents; how­ever we wel­come PhD stu­dents from other uni­ver­si­ties or Mas­ters stu­dents, who wish to explore more advanced top­ics. The lec­tures assume knowl­edge of core con­cepts in macro­eco­nom­ics at the Mas­ters level. Each day has two lec­tures. A brief descrip­tion of each lec­ture and an indica­tive read­ing list can be found in the link to each lec­ture below. The loca­tion of the lec­tures alter­nate between the two uni­ver­si­ties. Atten­dance is free and there is no reg­is­tra­tion requirement.

Making Swiss Cheese Of The Euro?

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In the oth­er­wise for­get­table movie Cock­tail, when Tom Cruise’s char­ac­ter Brian Flana­gan abruptly splits with his date Bon­nie, she pleads with him not to let their rela­tion­ship end badly. He replies “every­thing ends badly: oth­er­wise it wouldn’t end.”

The tur­moil in for­eign exchange mar­kets caused by Switzerland’s abrupt end­ing of its Euro peg may be such a bad moment for the Euro—and it comes fig­u­ra­tively moments before another likely bad moment, the elec­tions in Greece on Jan­u­ary 25th that will in all like­li­hood bring the anti-austerity party Syriza to power. Will the Euro, like Flanagan’s rela­tion­ship in Cock­tail, end badly—and abruptly—soon?

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.