As seen with the United Nations significant promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the past few years, the issue of global development is of growing concern to many international organizations. As humanity continues to become more interconnected through globalization, the inequalities and injustices experienced by inhabitants of impacted countries becomes increasingly clear. While this issue can be observed in the papers of different types (e.g., different schools of thought) of economists throughout the world, the work of behavioral and complexity economists offer a unique, collaborative perspective on how to frame decisions for individuals in a way that can positively reverberate throughout society and throughout time.
Does Karl Polanyi's work “The Great Transformation” serve to analyse the current multiple crisis and social movements? Nancy Fraser revises Polanyi's concept of a double movement to capture social forces in the aftermath of the economic crisis of the 1930s – on the one side marketization and on the other hand social protection. Fraser proposes to talk about a triple movement and to account for emancipatory struggles. In the lecture, she discusses interactions as well as conflicts between those three forces, in particular conflicting aims of social protection. The lecture presents the content of her paper “A TRIPLE MOVEMENT? Parsing the Politics of Crisis after Polanyi“ in the New Left Review (2013).
Galbraith first explores the social darwinism of Herbert Spencer and others that served as apology for the highly unequal distribution of wealth in the US at the end of the 19th century and naturalized differences in wealth by appealing to the concept of natural selection of the fittest. Then some instances of the unscrupulous business practices (i.e. robberies) of the American railroad tycoons and other business magnates are recounted. Lastly, Galbraith lines out some of the arguments of Thorstein Veblen, who delegitimized and ridiculed the business and leisure activities of the rich by putting them in the same category as predatory and ritualized practices of primitive or ancient societies.
Economist and politician Costas Lapavitsas: presents differing theoretical definitions of financialization, namely from Marxist and Post-Keynesian thinkers and compares their approaches. By presenting pattern and features of the economic and financial crisis, he interprets the latter as a crisis of financialization. Lapavitsas emphasizes his arguments by presenting data from the U.S. and Germany on the transformation of business, banks and households.
An essay of the writing workshop on contemporary issues in the field of Nigerian economics: In Nigeria, it appears that there is nothing in the constitution, which excludes the participation of women in politics. Yet, when it comes to actual practice, there is extensive discrimination. The under-representation of women in political participation gained root due to the patriarchal practice inherent in our society, much of which were obvious from pre-colonial era till date.
In this episode of the Planet Money podcast the Caribbean island of Barbuda is used as an example to explore the notion of property rights Until the island was struck by Hurricane Irma in November 2017 the island belonged to all Barbudans First there is a brief historic background given …
In this TedTalk Dan O Neil explains why GDP and infinite growth are concepts that we should leave behind and which other perspectives have been developed Degrowth post growth well being or steady state economy The goal is to rethink a new paradigm that puts society and the environment at …
How do people make decisions? There is a class of models in psychology which seek to answer this question but have received scant attention in economics despite some clear empirical successes. In a previous post I discussed one of these, Decision by Sampling, and this post will look at another: the so-called Fast and Frugal heuristics pioneered by the German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer. Here the individual seeks out sufficient information to make a reasonable decision. They are ‘fast’ because they do not require massive computational effort to make a decision so can be done in seconds, and they are ‘frugal’ because they use as little information as possible to make the decision effectively.
In this lecture Mirowski claims that a good critique of and alternative to neoclassical economics should focus on microeconomics. In addition, he claims that mainstream economics is not about a specific "human nature", instead the understanding of markets (partially based on Hayek) is of special importance. As an alternative Mirowski proposes institutionalist economics that builds upon how markets work nowadays (e.g. links to computer science).
Paul Mason presents the main arguments of his book PostCapitalism. First, he argues that capitalism runs out of its capability to adapt to crises and second states that information technology challenges the capitalist system. In a nutshell, he argues that a society which fully exploits information technologies can't include concepts such as intellectual property, free market or private ownership. This has far-reaching consequences for the organisation of wages and work. The talk stops at minute 37.30.
Ha Joon Chang exposes the main ideas of his book Bad Samaritans, namely that historically states have developed and industrialized by making policy interventions related to industry protection, tariffs and subsidies and not by opening their markets to free trade. Chang elaborates on the examples of Japan, the US, Singapore and Germany amongst others to show that an interventionist path to development has been the regularity and not an anomaly. In the end of the lecture, he argues that they idea of a level playing field should be replaced by a trade order that accounts for differences in power and economic capacities of different countries. The last 20 minutes are questions and answers.
Keen first compares neoclassical approaches to modelling with heterodox ones. Then he discusses in length the required assumptions and the inconsistencies of the aggregate demand and supply model, which is extrapolated from a micro perspective. At the end some dynamic models with feedback mechanisms are shown.
Michael Kalecki famously remarked “I have found out what economics is; it is the science of confusing stocks with flows”. Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) models were developed precisely to address this kind of confusion. The basic intuition of SFC models is that the economy is built up as a set of intersecting balance sheets, where transactions between entities are called flows and the value of the assets/liabilities they hold are called stocks. Wages are a flow; bank deposits are a stock, and confusing the two directly is a category error. In this edition of the pluralist showcase I will first describe the logic of SFC models – which is worth exploring in depth – before discussing empirical calibration and applications of the models. Warning that there is a little more maths in this post than usual (i.e. some), but you should be able to skip those parts and still easily get the picture.
Environmental catastrophe looms large over politics: from the young person’s climate march to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, increasing amounts of political space are devoted to the issue. Central to this debate is the question of whether economic growth inevitably leads to environmental issues such as depleted finite resources and increased waste, disruption of natural cycles and ecosystems, and of course climate change. Growth is the focal point of the de-growth and zero-growth movements who charge that despite efficiency gains, increased GDP always results in increased use of energy and emissions. On the other side of the debate, advocates of continued growth (largely mainstream economists) believe that technological progress and policies can ‘decouple’ growth from emissions.
This multimedia dossier is part of the series „Understanding Finance“ by Finance Watch. The dossier focuses on universal banks – banks that pursue commercial and investment banking and points out several problems of those megabanks, especially in the context of the financial crisis (too big to fail).
The Heterodox Economics Directory provides a broad variety of links to heterodox journals, books, conferences, study programs, teaching materials and blogs. Some categories are subdivided by schools of thoughts - it's a valuable source for heterodox material on the internet.
Founded in 1968, The Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE) is an interdisciplinary membership organization of academics and of activists. Its mission is to promote the study, development and application of radical political economic analysis to social problems. Concretely, this involves a continuing critique of both the capitalist system, and of all forms of exploitation and oppression. URPE’s mission also includes, coming out of this critique, helping to construct a progressive social policy, and a human-centered radical alternative to capitalism.
The page "Positive Money" gathers text and short videos which explain how money is created by banks by giving loans. It furthermore presents the consequences of this process on housing prices, inequality and the environment and its role in the financial crisis. The dossier is provided by the campaign "Positive Money" which aims at a democratic control over money creation. Besides texts by the campaign, the page makes available links to journal and conference articles on the topic. The page focuses on the banking system of the UK.
The podcast exposes the concept and principles of co-operatives and the three main types of co-operatives: the consumer, credit and farmers buying and selling co-operatives. Furthermore, the history of the co-operative movement is presented. The authors draw the line from co-operatives to "degrowth" by arguing that these organisations discourage profit maximisation due to their ownership structure, their social purpose and their primacy of people over capital. The value of the members' co-operative share does not increase with the growth of a co-operative and it can not be used for speculation. Finally, the authors give examples for current co-operatives which empower (local) communities fostering social justice and environmentalism.
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.
The dossier first discusses the impact of colonialism on introducing foreign plants and thus disrupting ecosystems. Subsequently the case of the knotweed, a plant introduced from Japan to the UK and now considered a threat to biodiversity is explored. The complex economy built around the plant consisting of regulations, pesticides, experts, and landowners is then explored.
John K. Galbraith recounts episodes in the history of money such as the creation of the bank of Amsterdam, John Law's fraudulent Bank Royal, the inception of the Bank of England and of the Federal Reserve to illustrate concepts such as money creation by commercial banks, the bank rate, open market operations or the money supply in general. The emotions, myths and struggles surrounding money are addressed and explained in a clear and consistent manner.
The dossier explores the nature of care work and the gendered constructions and dichotomies that are associated with it. Drawing from feminist analysis the double burden, the undervaluation of feminised labour, the commodification of affective labour and the remittance economy are inquired into. Moreover, it is discussed how welfare regimes rely on the different organization of care work.
Eckhard Hein criticises the mainstream's view of secular stagnation as the result of a negative real equilibrium interest rate. Arguing in a Keynesian spirit with particular reference to Steindl, secular stagnation is considered to be a result of shift in the functional income distribution, and oligopolistic organisation of industries, leading to excess capacity and reluctance to invest. This acts as a drag on effective demand and results in secular stagnation. Distributional policies and public investment can, however, overcome stagnation its tendencies.
Özlem Onaran analyses the current problems of secular stagnation from a global perspective. At the core of global economic problems is insufficient demand caused by falling wage shares, because most individual countries, and the world as a whole are “wage-led”. Hence a strategy for global growth is to aim at increasing wages and thus the wage share, and the abandonment of policies focusing purely on national competitiveness. Financialization has broken the link between corporate profitability and investment. Reregulation of finance and higher public investment is required in order to crowd in private investment, in this way, reversing the declining trend of potential output growth.
An essay of the writing workshop on Nigeria’s Readiness for and the Effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
An essay of the writing workshop on Nigeria’s Readiness for and the Effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Mark Blyth criticises the political inability to solve the persistent economic crisis in Europe against the background of a deflationary environment. Ideological blockades and impotent institutions are the mutually reinforcing causes of European stagnation. The deeper roots lie in the structural change of the economic system since the 1980s, when neoliberalism emerged as hegemonic ideology. This ideology prepared the ground for austerity and resulting deflationary pressures and a strategy of all seeking to export their way out of trouble. Worryingly this is breeding populist and nationalist resentments in Europe.
Irene van Staveren, professor of pluralist development economics, presents her pluralist teaching method for the introductory level. Based on her textbook “Economics After the Crisis: An Introduction to Economics from a Pluralist and Global Perspective” she suggests to focus on real-world problems and pari passu apply economic theories such as Social economics, Institutional economics, Post-Keynesian economics as well as Neoclassical economics without wasting time to single out the latter. Besides pointing out advantages of such a pluralist method Irene illustrates her approach based on interesting topics such as growth or feminist economics.
This video animates part of the talk “On Economics” by Ha-Joon Chang in which he states that economics is not a science for experts but for everyone. Chang further argues why it is important to take into account different perspectives on economics – he identifies at least nine school of thoughts which all have their strengths and weaknesses and presents examples on free trade and well-being. Chang further elaborates on the difficulties of changing the economic status quo.
How did economic growth become paramount as the public policy objective? Peter Victor discusses the role of growth within institutions, asks if it is possible to imagine a degrowth economy and discusses the role of grass-root movements.
This video provides a brief introduction to post-keynesian economics and how the school of thought would tackle climate change.