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.
Marx’s theory of the falling rate of profit is not only empirically borne out, but the theory he proposed seems to describe accurately how that happens. Furthermore, the whole process is useful for understanding the history of contemporary capitalism.
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.
Departing from an analysis of women's employment and changing gender regimes in the pre crisis period, Jill Rubery illustrates how the crisis affects men's and women's employment differently. Afterwards, she discusses the crisis' impact on gender relations. Based on empirical findings, she shows how men were more affected by the recession and women more by austerity and presents possible explanations. Those are furthermore linked to women's employment decisions and prevalent gender regimes. In particular, Rubery discusses cut backs in public spendings on care, flexibilization and the role of conservative gender ideologies.
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.
Even if men were perceived as the main protagonists of the Greek crisis, the crisis had a deep impact on disadvantaged groups, in particular migrant women working as domestic labourers. The debate presents the particular impact on migrant women of the downturn and furthermore discusses how migrant struggles and other emancipatory movements impacted the politics of crisis. The first minutes of the video are in German, but the moderator switches to English.
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).
One of the pluralist theories which has gained prominence following the 2008 financial crisis is Hyman Minsky and his Financial Instability Hypothesis (FIH). Minsky was unique in viewing balance sheets and financial flows as the primary components of capitalist economies, and his focus on the financial system meant he was well-equipped for foresee a crisis much like 2008. Although he died long before 2008 his framework anticipated many of the processes which led to the crash, particularly increased risk-taking and financial innovation which would outstrip the abilities of regulators and central banks to manage the system.
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.
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.
What influence do changes in tax policy or state decisions on expenditure have on economic growth? For decades, this question has been controversially debated.
The website contains a vast amount of information on the history of economic thought. It presents thinkers, their main works (and links to those works) and schools of thought which are sorted by political economy schools, neoclassical schools, alternative schools as well as thematic schools. „This web site concentrates information and resources on the history of economic thought, from the ancient times until the modern day. It is designed for students, researchers and the general public, who are interested in learning about economics from a historical perspective.“
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.
Economic sociology is an entire subfield and one could write an series on it, so I’m going to stick to probably the most prominent economic sociologist and the founder of ‘new economic sociology’, Mark Granovetter.
The most successful multialternative theories of decision making assume that people consider individual aspects of a choice and proceed via a process of elimination. Amos Tversky was one of the pioneers of this field, but modern decision theorists – most notably Neil Stewart – have moved things forward. At the current stage the theories are able to explain a number of strictly ‘irrational’ but reasonable quirks of human decision making, including various heuristics and biases. Not only this, but eye movements of participants strongly imply that the decision-making process depicted in the theories is an accurate one.
First historical instances of colonialism such as the crusades are revisited. Then a lengthy account of the colonial experience of the Spanish Kingdom in South America and of the British Empire in India is given. The Indian case is illustrated with large amounts of archival materials from a colonial administrator. There the workings of the colonial bureaucracy and law and its (positive) achievements as well as the ignorance and arrogance of the external rulers are demonstrated. After narrating the Indian independence to some depth some recent colonial wars (Algeria, Vietnam, Congo, Angola) are briefly examined. In the end, the impact of colonialism on current, i.e. 1970s, (economic) international relations is discussed. The general tenor is that colonialism is a dysfunctional system. Still, agency is mostly placed with the empire rather than with the ruled.
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.
The documentary recounts the history of the first World War and gives a biography of Lenin. The concept of imperialism is briefly explored and it is concluded that by the end of world war one the old certainties and old ruling alliances between aristocracy and traditional capitalists were broken up.
What does political economy say about the global sugar production? Take a look at global trade regulations, intercountry inequalities, and the role of marketing.
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.
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
A historical glimpse of how economists of the 19th century debated the usefulness of mathematics to economics
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.
John K. Galbraith tells the economic history of a couple of economies (mostly UK, US and to a lesser extent Germany) from the end of the first world war until the Bretton Woods conference. He also provides a biography of John M. Keynes and outlines some central ideas of Keynes such as the possibility of an underemployment equilibrium. Galbraith complements the historical remarks by the biographical experiences he made in economic management (and in engaging with Keynes) serving as deputy head of the Office for Price administration during the second world war.
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.
The general idea of a Job Guarantee (JG) is that the government offers employment to everybody ready, willing and able to work for a living wage in the last instance as an Employer of Last Resort. The concept tackles societal needs that are not satisfied by market forces and the systemic characteristic of unemployment in capitalist societies. Being a central part of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), attention for the JG concept rose in recent years.