Thanks again to blog member Evan Harris for compiling this weekly list, and for blog members passing on their suggestions. If you see any article or blog entry that you think deserves recording for posterity, send the link to gfcwrap at gmail.com.
And a reminder for any blog members in Sydney that I’ll be speaking at Politics in the Pub tonight at the Gaelic Club in Devonshire St Surry Hills, starting at 6pm.
The Pool Room – Week Ending Friday 29th May
Housing & Housing Finance: The View From Australia & Beyond, Luci Ellis [RBA Research], Dec 2006
Two prominent economics textbook writers have recently written that the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) shows that the world needs more economics rather than less.
Writing in the New York Times, Gregory Mankiw could see some need to modify economics courses a bit in response to the GFC, but overall he felt that:
“Despite the enormity of recent events, the principles of economics are largely unchanged. Students still need to learn about the gains from trade, supply and demand, the efficiency properties of market outcomes, and so on. These topics will remain the bread-and-butter of introductory courses.” (That Freshman Course Won’t Be Quite the Same, New York Times May 23 2009)
Fans of the Australian movie classic “The Castle” will remember the archetypal line “This one’s going straight to the Pool Room”, uttered by the ever-optimistic Darryl Kerrigan whenever he was given a gift. If you haven’t yet seen the movie, consider setting aside a couple of hours to watch it.
Debtwatch’s “Poolroom gifts” come from the media coverage of the Global Financial Crisis. Some are gems–incisive bits of analysis that are an informative read. Others are … well, best characterised as spin, though they range from outright spin, to delusion derived from thinking like a neoclassical economist.
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.