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408 results

2018
Level: advanced
The article is a formal response to the debate between the economists Diane Coyle and Howard Reed, whose articles were published online by Prospect magazine in 2018. Then, it was taken by Rethinking Economics as representative for the vision of the global network which advocates for changing economics curricula. In fact, it clearly solves some issues within the debate around pluralism by explaining its common misunderstandings among academics and its true - often mislead - meaning.
2019
Level: expert
This paper attempts to clarify how the European economic crisis from 2007 onwards can be understood from the perspective of a Marxian monetary theory of value that emphasizes intrinsic, structural flaws regarding capitalist reproduction. Chapter two provides an empirical description of the European economic crisis, which to some extent already reflects the structural theoretical framework presented in chapter three. Regarding the theoretical framework Michael Heinrich's interpretation of 'the' Marxian monetary theory of value will be presented. Heinrich identifies connections between production and realization, between profit and interest rate as well as between industrial and fictitious capital, which represent contradictory tendencies for which capitalism does not have simple balancing processes. In the context of a discussion of 'structural logical aspects' of Marx's Critique of the Political Economy, explanatory deficits of Heinrich's approach are analyzed. In the following, it is argued that Fred Moseley's view of these 'structural logical aspects' allows empirical 'applications' of Marxian monetary theories of value. It is concluded that a Marxian monetary theory of value, with the characteristics of expansive capital accumulation and its limitations, facilitates a structural analysis of the European economic crisis from 2007 onwards. In this line of argument, expansive production patterns are expressed, among other things, in global restructuring processes, while consumption limitations are mitigated by expansive financial markets and shifts in ex-port destinations.
2016
Level: beginner
This multimedia dossier explores the production chain of smartphones. In particular due to the violation of workers' rights and low payments, the author Benjamin Selwyn calls those production structures global poverty chains. In this context, he points to the importance of workers' struggles.
2015
Level: beginner
What does political economy say about the global sugar production? Take a look at global trade regulations, intercountry inequalities, and the role of marketing.
1985
Level: advanced
Sabel and Zeitlin present the persistence of small firms in Europe against the rise of mass production and modern enterprises Their article starts by analysing how mass production can be considered a historical necessity for the classical view as it is a highly specialized structure where man and machine can …
2014
Level: beginner
In this lecture Ben Fine aims at stimulating interest for and explaining the relevance of Marxist Political Economy. Ben Fine dedicates the first half of his comprehensible lecture to the question on how mainstream economics became the way it is by explaining its key concepts and how those evolved during the past 150 years. While critically reflecting those concept he also emphasizes that mainstream economics does not consider historical processes. This is the point of departure on his presentation of the core terms and crucial categories of Marxist Political Economy: e.g. the production process and class relations (Part 1). Part 2 examines the consequences of the capitalist mode of production and its propensity to crises. Ben Fine illustrates this Marxist analysis with the example of the current crisis and explains current conditions for the accumulation of capital.
2014
Level: beginner
In this lecture Ben Fine aims at stimulating interest for and explaining the relevance of Marxist Political Economy. Ben Fine dedicates the first half of his comprehensible lecture to the question on how mainstream economics became the way it is by explaining its key concepts and how those evolved during the past 150 years. While critically reflecting those concept he also emphasizes that mainstream economics does not consider historical processes. This is the point of departure on his presentation of the core terms and crucial categories of Marxist Political Economy: e.g. the production process and class relations (Part 1). Part 2 examines the consequences of the capitalist mode of production and its propensity to crises. Ben Fine illustrates this Marxist analysis with the example of the current crisis and explains current conditions for the accumulation of capital.
2015
Level: advanced
The principle of effective demand, and the claim of its validity for a monetary production economy in the short and in the long run, is the core of heterodox macroeconomics, as currently found in all the different strands of post-Keynesian economics (Fundamentalists, Kaleckians, Sraffians, Kaldorians, Institutionalists) and also in some strands of neo-Marxian economics, particularly in the monopoly capitalism and underconsumptionist school In this contribution, we will therefore outline the foundations of the principle of effective demand and its relationship with the respective notion of a capitalist or a monetary production economy in the works of Marx, Kalecki and Keynes. Then we will deal with heterodox short-run macroeconomics and it will provide a simple short-run model which is built on the principle of effective demand, as well as on distribution conflict between different social groups (or classes): rentiers, managers and workers. Finally, we will move to the long run and we will review the integration of the principle of effective demand into heterodox/post-Keynesian approaches towards distribution and growth.
2017
Level: beginner
This paper surveys the development of the concept of socialism from the French Revolution to the socialist calculation debate. Karl Marx’s politics of revolutionary socialism led by an empowered proletariat nurtured by capital accumulation envisions socialism as a “top-down” system resting on political institutions, despite Marx’s keen appreciation of the long-period analysis of the organization of social production in the classical political economists. Collectivist thinking in the work of Enrico Barone and Wilfredo Pareto paved the way for the discussion of socialism purely in terms of the allocation of resources. The Soviet experiment abandoned the mixed economy model of the New Economic Policy for a political-bureaucratic administration of production only loosely connected to theoretical concepts of socialism. The socialist calculation debate reductively recast the problem of socialism as a problem of allocation of resources, leading to general equilibrium theory. Friedrich Hayek responded to the socialist calculation debate by shifting the ground of discussion from class relations to information revelation
2021
Level: beginner
The last 15 years have seen extensive research into ecosystem service valuation (ESV), spurred by the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005 (Baveye, Baveye & Gowdy, 2016). Ecosystem services are defined as “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems” (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, p.V). For example, ecosystems provide the service of sequestering carbon which helps regulate the climate. Valuation means giving ecosystems or their services a monetary price, for example researchers have estimated that the carbon sequestration services of the Mediterranean Sea is between 100 and 1500 million euros per year. The idea of ESV was a response to the overuse of natural resources and degradation of ecosystems, allegedly due to their undervaluation and exclusion from the monetary economy. ESV can be used (1) for policy decision-making, for example allocating funding to a reforestation project (2) for setting payments to people who increase ecosystem services, for example a farmer increasing the organic carbon content of their soil, and (3) for determining fees for people who degrade ecosystem services, for example a company that causes deforestation.
2021
Level: beginner
What’s inflation? Why is it relevant? And is there an agreed theory about its roots and causes, or is it a contentious concept? That’s what this text is all about: We define what inflation actually means before we delve into the theoretical debate with an interdisciplinary and pluralist approach: What gives rise to it, what factors might influence it, and, consequently, what might be done about it?
2017
Level: beginner
This paper starts with an evaluation of three common arguments against pluralism in economics: (1) the claim that economics is already pluralist, (2) the argument that if there was the need for greater plurality, it would emerge on its own, and (3) the assertion that pluralism means ‘anything goes’ and is thus unscientific. Pluralist responses to all three arguments are summarized. The third argument is identified to relate to a greater challenge for pluralism: an epistemological trade-off between diversity and consensus that suggests moving from a discussion about ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ towards a discussion about the adequate degree of plurality. We instantiate the trade-off by showing how it originates from two main challenges: the need to derive adequate quality criteria for a pluralist economics, and the necessity to propose strategies that ensure the communication across different research programs. The paper concludes with some strategies to meet these challenges.
2020
Level: beginner
How countries achieve long-term GDP growth is up there with the most important topics in economics. As Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas put it “the consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.” Ricardo Hausmann et al take a refreshing approach to this question in their Atlas of Economic Complexity. They argue a country’s growth depends on the complexity of its economy: it must have a diverse economy which produces a wide variety of products, including ones that cannot be produced much elsewhere. The Atlas goes into detail on exactly what complexity means, how it fits the data, and what this implies for development. Below I will offer a summary of their arguments, including some cool data visualisations.
2020
Level: beginner
One method of economic modelling that has become increasingly popular in academia, government and the private sector is Agent Based Models, or ABM. These simulate the actions and interactions of thousands or even millions of people to try to understand the economy – for this reason ABM was once described to me as being “like Sim City without the graphics”. One advantage of ABM is that it is flexible, since you can choose how many agents there are (an agent just means some kind of 'economic decision maker' like a firm, consumer, worker or government); how they behave (do they use complicated or simple rules to make decisions?); as well as the environment they act in, then just run the simulation and see what happens as they interact over time.
2020
Level: beginner
Feminist economics is a key component of the movement for pluralism in economics and one that has, to some extent, been acknowledged by the mainstream of the profession. It seeks to highlight issues which affect women because (it claims) they have not traditionally been recognised in a field dominated by men. On top of this, it seeks to carve out a space for women in the discipline, both for intrinsic reasons of fairness and diversity and because it means that women’s issues are more likely to be highlighted going forward.
2021
Level: beginner
“Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses1.” This is how Lionel Robbins came to define economics in the early 1930s and there is a good chance that many of you heard a variant of this definition in your first Economics 101 lecture.
2019
Level: beginner
Mariana Mazzucato explains how we lost sight of what value means and why we need to rethink our current financial systems so capitalism can be steered toward a bold, innovative and sustainable future that works for all of us.
2020
Level: beginner
Firms are the primary places where economic activity takes place in modern capitalist economies: they are where most stuff is produced; where many of us spend 40 hours a week; and where big decisions are made about how to allocate resources. Establishing how they work is hugely important because it helps us to understand patterns of production and consumption, including how firms will react to changes in economic conditions and policy. And a well-established literature – led by post-Keynesians and institutionalists – holds that the best way to determine how firms work is to…wait for it...ask firms how they work. This a clearly sensible proposition that is contested in economics for some reason, but we’ll ignore the controversy here and just explore the theory that springs from this approach.
2020
Level: beginner
"Specialise!" is the advice often given by career advisers, school teachers and the like. David Epstein takes the opposite position: In an ever more specialised, highly complex world, it pays to have good old-fashioned broad common knowledge in as many areas as you take interest in, both in terms of intellectual curiosity and professional success. To have a decent grasp of various aspects of life means to be able to discern the links between them, thus developing a better understanding of how our world works and what drives events as they unfold.
2020
Level: advanced
This paper investigates how the concept of public purpose is used in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). As a common denominator among political scientists, the idea of public purpose is that economic actions should aim at benefiting the majority of the society. However, the concept is to be considered as an ideal of a vague nature, which is highly dependent on societal context and, hence, subject to change over time. MMT stresses that government spending plans should be designed to pursue a certain socio-economic mandate and not to meet any particular financial outcome. The concept of public purpose is heavily used in this theoretical body of thought and often referred to in the context of policy proposals as the ideas of universal job guarantee and banking reform proposals show. MMT scholars use the concept as a pragmatic benchmark against which policies can be assessed. With regards to the definition of public propose, MMT scholars agree that it is dependent on the social-cultural context. Nevertheless, MMT scholars view universal access to material means of survival as universally applicable and in that sense as the lowest possible common denominator.
2019
Level: advanced
Modern authors have identified a variety of striking economic patterns, most importantly those involving the distribution of incomes and profit rates. In recent times, the econophysics literature has demonstrated that bottom incomes follow an exponential distribution, top incomes follow a Pareto, profit rates display a tent-shaped distribution. This paper is concerned with the theory underlying various explanations of these phenomena. Traditional econophysics relies on energy-conserving “particle collision” models in which simulation is often used to derive a stationary distribution. Those in the Jaynesian tradition rely on entropy maximization, subject to certain constraints, to infer the final distribution. This paper argues that economic phenomena should be derived as results of explicit economic processes. For instance, the entry and exit process motivated by supply decisions of firms underlies the drift-diffusion form of wage, interest and profit rates arbitrage. These processes give rise to stationary distributions that turn out to be also entropy maximizing. In arbitrage approach, entropy maximization is a result. In the Jaynesian approaches, entropy maximization is the means.
2022
Level: beginner
In this teaching pack, we look at the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk. In particular, we focus on what it means to take a company private and how the deal was financed.
2018
Level: advanced
Well-rounded insights with essay contributions from various perspectives into what it means to decolonize higher education.
2015
Level: beginner
In this radio interview, Andrew Sayer first outlines some features of neoliberalism and policies that are associated with it. Then a difference between wealth creation via investment and wealth extraction by means of lending money to those deprived of it or by acquiring property such as real estate or financial assets on the secondary market as absentee owner is established. In this context reference is made to J.A. Hobson's concept of "improperty." Finally, there are some words on the power dynamics associated with capitalism and its relation to climate change.
2016
Level: advanced
This lecture is all about the challenge to include heterodox approaches into macroeconomics. After giving an overview of recent approaches to that problem Professor Michael Roos presents the theoretical framework of Complexity Economics as a means to combine behavioral aspects with macroeconomics.
2018
Level: beginner
UBC's Henry Siu, a professor at the Vancouver School of Economics, speaks about innovation in economics, technological progress and what it means for the fut...
2019
Level: beginner
In this post, Rethinking Economics sets out what it means to decolonise economics education and how we can do that. The article first breaks decolonising down into a "mind-set" and a "process", then applies this process to economics education. It finishes with a reading list and some suggested actions to get you started decolonising economics today.
2022
Level: beginner
Western sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine quickly led the Ruble to lose more than 45 percent of its value. But these days, the Russian currency is back to its pre-war value. Cameron and Adam explain the turnaround and discuss what it means for the war.
2013
Level: advanced
This book is an authoritative and accessible guide to the pluralist movement threatening to revolutionise mainstream economics. Leading figures in the field explain why pluralism is a required virtue in economics, how it came to be blocked and what it means for the way we think about, research and teach economics.
2007
Level: advanced
Modern mission theory is guided largely by the three self paradigm that suggests indigenous churches can only be healthy if they are self-governing, self-propagating, and self-supporting. Consequently, Western missionaries, their churches, and their agencies have been increasingly indisposed to giving generously. We must rethink the interplay of dollars dependency and what it means to do the right thing with our money as we pursue twenty-first century missions.
2016
Level: advanced
Mainstream economics almost completely ignores the role power plays in determining economic outcomes, which means it can only provide partial explanations of the distribution of wealth and income, and of the problems associated with inequality and poverty.
 
Institutional economics focuses on the role of social institutions in terms of laws or contracts, but also those of social norms and patterns of human behaviour that are connected to the social organisation of production, distribution and consumption in the economy.

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