A new Facebook group dedicated to reforming economics tuition has just been established by Edward Fullbrook, the coordinator of PAECON, the Post-Autistic ECOnomics Network.
Called Toxic Textbooks, its aim is to support and coordinate student protest against neoclassical economics at universities and schools around the world. Its manifesto is:
Toxic textbooks helped cause the economic meltdown
The current economic meltdown is not the result of natural causes or human conspiracy, but because society at all levels became infected with false beliefs regarding the nature of economic reality. And the primary sources of this infection are the “neoclassical” or “mainstream” textbooks long used in introductory economics courses in universities throughout the world.
I’ll be speaking on the financial crisis at the monthly “Politics in the Pub” meeting in Newcastle next week. It’s on Tuesday May 19 at 6pm at the Hamilton Station Hotel on the corner of Fern and Beaumont Streets Islington (next door to Hamilton station on the Maitland Road side of the railway line).
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I’ll be speaking at Politics in the Pub on Friday May 29, along with Jacob Saulwick from the SMH. The Location is the Gaelic Club, Level 1 (Tel. 9212 1587) 64 Devonshire Street Surry Hills–just 50 metres or so from the Chalmers Street exit from Central Station.
The topic will be rather apposite to the most recent blog entry: “The Rudd-Swan Budget 2009 – Whose Interests Will It Serve?”
The event starts at 6pm and finishes at 7.45pm, after which anyone who wants to soldier on can join us for dinner at a nearby restaurant.
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I first heard the best joke about economics in 1975. The teller was the nuclear physicist (and nuclear power advocate) Sir Phillip Baxter, and he told it in answer to a question I had asked at a public forum.
The joke is:
A physicist, a chemist and an economist are shipwrecked on a desert isle, along with a container full of cans of baked beans.
The chemist says that if they can start a fire, he can calculate the temperature at which a can will explode.
“And, at this point, confidence is what it is all about… The first thing is to maintain some confidence in ourselves and the prospects for our country over time… Unfortunately, there is no lever marked ‘confidence’ that policy-makers can take hold of. Our task is very much one of seeking to behave, across the board, in ways that will foster, rather than erode, confidence. It is such confidence that, more than anything else, will help to drive us along the road to recovery.” (Glenn Stevens, April 21st 2009)
In May 1973, dissatisfaction over the teaching of economics at the University of Sydney went from a festering sore amongst the staff only to an outright revolt by a minority of the staff, and a majority of the students. In 1975, a new Department of Political Economy had its first intake into Economics I℗. Thirty four years later, it is still going. Professor Frank Stilwell, who has lived this dispute since 1970, is launching Political Economy Now!, a history of the dispute, next Tuesday at Sydney University’s Fisher Library (May 5th, 5.30pm, Level 5).
Eric Aarons’ book Hayek versus Marx: And Today’s Challenges will be launched at Gleebooks on Friday April 24th at 6pm. I will make an opening speech about the book and its remarkable author. There will be pre-launch drinks from 6 till 6.40.
Attendance is free, but places are limited. Please contact Gleebooks on (02) 9660 2333, or click on the link to Request a place on Gleebooks’ automated booking form. Gleebooks is at 49 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe; the launch will take place in the upstairs room, which can accommodate about 100.
Title: “Crunchtime”: Bringing together the best policy minds to discuss Australia’s future
Location: Trades Hall Auditorium, 4 Goulburn St, Sydney NSW
Link out: Click here
Description: The best policy thinkers from Australia and abroad will come together for “Crunchtime” — Australia’s first progressive think-tank conference.
Tax, social policy, the global financial crisis and climate change will be pulled apart by impressive policy minds including Ann Pettifor from Advocacy International in the UK. Ann has written extensively on debt and finance, climate change and international development and was one of the authors of the UK national economic foundation’s Green New Deal.
A number of blog members have noted that they’d like to have my PhD thesis on Minsky available, as well as my more recent papers on financial instability and endogenous money.
As a first step, here is a link to my PhD thesis. It’s written in my usual style, though because it’s equation heavy, it wouldn’t qualify as bedtime reading. Early next week I hope to reorganise my Research Page to have most of my academic papers accessible there, and structured according to topic.
This is something members of the blog won’t be amazed to hear, but it’s a milestone nonetheless: Debtwatch has just had its first two days with more than 10,000 unique readers:
There are also something in the vicinity of 500 RSS readers (I would appreciate finding out how many there are right now, from anyone more technically savvy than I am on these things). Oh, and over 1250 subscribers, making about 100 posts a day in a very active–and very affable–discussion.
I can’t think of any significant way to sign off here, so I’ll just take my hat off and thank you all for participating.
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