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.

What Austerity Hawks Ignore

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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:

Crash Boom Pop! on The Keiser Report

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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 Fundraising event for Fred Lee Scholarship

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SOAS is hold­ing an event to recog­nise the late Fred Lee’s out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to devel­op­ing a real­is­tic microeconomics.

Fred Lee

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.