A Lawyer’s Mindset Where An Economist’s Is Needed?

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A Twit­ter cor­re­spon­dent pointed out a sim­ple fact that makes Schäuble’s inflex­i­bil­ity in nego­ti­a­tions with Varo­ufakis explic­a­ble: though he is a Min­is­ter of Finance, his PhD is in law.

So is he implic­itly approach­ing these nego­ti­a­tions as a lawyer would? Because from that point of view, what the Greeks are try­ing to do is to renege on a contract.

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The USA — All Systems Go?

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The con­trast today between Europe—the sub­ject of my first few posts on Forbes—and the USA could not be more extreme. The cri­sis, when it began in 2007/08, was seen ini­tially as a purely Amer­i­can phenomenon—and by some, proof that the dereg­u­lated Amer­i­can(and more gen­er­ally, the Anglo-Saxon) model of cap­i­tal­ism had failed, while Europe’s more col­lec­tivist ver­sion was still going strong.

One of the most vol­u­ble putting that argu­ment was then French Pres­i­dent Nico­las Sarkozy, who asserted that the cri­sis proved that the Amer­i­can dereg­u­lated ver­sion of finance was kaput:

A page has been turned,” he said, on the “Anglo Saxon” finan­cial model.

Nobody understands debt–including Paul Krugman

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Paul Krug­man has pub­lished a trio of blog posts on the issue of debt in the last week: “Debt Is Money We Owe To Our­selves” (Feb­ru­ary 6th at 7.30am), “Debt: A Thought Exper­i­ment” (same day at 5.30pm), and finally “Nobody Under­stands Debt” (Feb­ru­ary 9th in an Op Ed).

There is one truly remark­able thing about all three arti­cles: not one of them con­tains the word “Bank”.

Now you may think it’s ridicu­lous that an econ­o­mist could dis­cuss the macro­eco­nom­ics of debt, not once but three times, and never even con­sider the role of banks. But Krug­man would tell you whyyou don’t need to con­sider banks when talk­ing about debt, and call you a “Bank­ing Mys­tic” if you persisted.

Talking about Yanis on the BBC

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I was inter­viewed twice on the BBC yes­ter­day about Yanis Varo­ufakis and Syriza’s attempts to resolve its debt cri­sis with the EU–once on the BBC News Chan­nel and once on BBC World News. The video clips are below. Click here to see Yanis’s “mod­est pro­posal” for resolv­ing the cri­sis.

BBC News Channel

BBC World News


Considering an Economics Masters? Consider Kingston

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As you may know, I am now Head of the School of Eco­nom­ics, His­tory and Pol­i­tics at Kingston Uni­ver­sity Lon­don. I took on the posi­tion for two rea­sons: because Kingston was already a cen­tre for plu­ral­ist eco­nom­ics; and because as Head of School I could main­tain and strengthen its plu­ral­ist approach. I’d like you to con­sider join­ing me here, and if you plan on doing a Mas­ters in Eco­nom­ics in the 2015–16 aca­d­e­mic year, then now is the time to apply.

Kingston offers a range of Eco­nom­ics MA degrees from het­ero­dox, plu­ral­is­tic and applied per­spec­tives, full time and part time. Our degree units are:

Share Radio interview on what’s really going on in Greece

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The lat­est in my reg­u­lar con­ver­sa­tions with Simon Rose of Share Radio. This time, to quote their blurb:

Steve keen on why the Greek finance min­is­ter is fan­tas­tic, QE will not work, con­ven­tional econ­o­mists have no idea how the real world works.

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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