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.

Crunchtime”: Bringing together the best policy minds to discuss Australia’s future

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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.

My PhD Thesis on Minsky and Financial Instability

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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.

Into 5 Figures

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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.