Weekly GFC Roll for May 29th 2009

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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

Australian-Related Links:

Hous­ing & Hous­ing Finance: The View From Aus­tralia & Beyond, Luci Ellis [RBA Research], Dec 2006

What a load of Bollocks

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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)

The Pool Room, Week Ending May 22nd 2009

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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.

Economics Students: Join Toxic Textbooks

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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. 

Talk at Politics in the Pub (Newcastle)

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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).

Talk at Politics in the Pub (Sydney)

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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.

Budget 2009: Let’s Assume We Have a Can Opener

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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.

Debtwatch No 34: The Confidence Trick

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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)

Launch of “Political Economy Now!”

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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).

Launch of “Marx and Hayek” by Eric Aarons

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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.