Jan 13, 2012
boyce
Comments Off on RFK on the poverty of satisfaction

RFK on the poverty of satisfaction

Ronald writes on January 6, 2012, quoting from an address by Robert F. Kennedy at the University of Kansas:

“Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another great task.  It is to confront the poverty of satisfaction a lack of purpose and dignity that inflicts us all.

“Too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.

“The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play.

“It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.

“It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country;

“It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

I have always found this text very inspirational.

I wish you the best of luck !

Econ4 replies:

Thanks, Ronald. There’s still a tremendous gap between how orthodox economists measure well-being and what’s really of value. In these eloquent remarks, delivered just 11 weeks before he was assassinated, RFK pinpointed one of the reasons why we want to upload ethics into economics.

Jan 13, 2012
boyce
Comments Off on Measure what matters

Measure what matters

From Matthew, December 10, 2011:

As a macroeconomic indicator of well-being, GDP is lousy.  We need to measure what matters.

 

Econ4 replies:

You’re absolutely right. We’re currently drafting the script for an Econ4 video on “Measuring the Economy” – and looking for funding to produce it.

 

Jan 11, 2012
boyce
Comments Off on Economic fallacies: time to work more, or less?

Economic fallacies: time to work more, or less?

Writing in The Guardian, Econ4 team member Juliet Schor explains the economic logic of a shorter working week:
In the models of neo-classical economics times like the present are assumed away. But when we’re actually living through them, we need to recognise that measures that result in higher hours can be counter-productive by creating more unemployment and investor pessimism. Similarly, responding to shortfalls in pension programs by asking people to stay in the labour force more years further dis-equilibrates the market by creating more demand for a limited number of jobs.
Read her piece here.
Jan 9, 2012
boyce
Comments Off on Ethics in economics: a step forward

Ethics in economics: a step forward

The Wall Street Journal, reporting on the American Economics Association’s recent decision to require economists to disclose potential conflicts of interest, quotes Econ4’s George DeMartino and Gerald Epstein, leading advocates of uploading ethics into the profession.

George DeMartino, a University of Denver professor who headed the panel, has argued for the adoption of an even broader “economists’ oath” that would address questions like the ethics of advising dictators and the responsibility of economists to stand up for the poor.

Gerald Epstein, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who has previously criticized economists’ lack of disclosure, in an email called the policy “a very big step forward.” He said the call for disclosure in nonacademic work, though nonbinding was particularly important because it will help “set norms of behavior that colleagues, the press, students and citizens can help hold economists accountable to.”

Read the story here.

Jan 7, 2012
boyce
Comments Off on Tent City University

Tent City University

The U.K.’s “Tent City University” offers a short course in occupied economics:

http://tentcityuniversity.occupylsx.org/?page_id=172

Jan 4, 2012
boyce
Comments Off on Fracking democracy

Fracking democracy

In 2010, Pittsburgh’s City Council voted unanimously to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction within city limits. Now the Pennsylvania legislature is moving to deny local governments the right to protect the local environment:

We don’t have a fracking problem. We have a democracy problem.

 

Read about it here.

Dec 30, 2011
boyce
Comments Off on Globalization of protest

Globalization of protest

From Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz:

The best government that money can buy is no longer good enough.

 

Read his piece here.

Dec 28, 2011
econ4org
Comments Off on Commies Under The Bed?

Commies Under The Bed?

From Miles, November 28, 2011:

What is the difference between what you propose and communism?

 

Econ4 replies:

Gee, red-baiting is so last century. But we’re glad you asked. Check out our mission statement where we set out Econ4’s four necessary conditions for a healthy economy:

1. A level playing field.

2. Resilience.

3. True-cost pricing.

4. Real democracy.

Doesn’t sound like actually existing communism. Or like actually existing capitalism. If those were the only two choices, economics really would be a dismal science. They aren’t, and it doesn’t have to be.

Dec 27, 2011
boyce

Video: America Beyond Capitalism

“If it can happen in Cleveland, it can happen anywhere.” Gar Alperovitz on an alternative to state socialism and corporate capitalism:

Source: The Real News Network.

 

Dec 21, 2011
boyce
Comments Off on Economics 4 People

Economics 4 People

From the Valley Advocate of Northampton, Mass.:

Popular economics education? The phrase seems oxymoronic. What field is more institutionalized and less popularized than economics?

Yet here is Econ4, a new initiative floating around the outskirts of economic academia, aiming to “end intellectual monoculture in the economics profession.”

Why are they doing this? And just what do they hope to accomplish?

“In the wake of the financial crisis, there was a need and demand for a better understanding of economics, more rooted in reality,” James Boyce tells me as we talk in his office. “You can’t delegate this stuff to the high priests of academia, Wall Street, and the Treasury Department.”

Read more here.