Hear Robert F. Kennedy’s words, just as compelling today as when they were spoken shortly before his assassination in 1968:
Fast Company (fastcoexist.com) reports on Econ4:
“We’re economists: we want to promote not only the supply of new economics teaching but also student demand for it.”
Read the story and accompanying interview here.
The correlation between income inequality and financial crises raises an important question: could it be that extended periods of increased income inequality help to cause financial crises? Evidence suggests this may well be the case, through three primary mechanisms that reinforce each other:
- Sharp increases in debt-to-income ratios among lower- and middle-income households looking to maintain consumption levels as they fall behind in terms of income;
- The creation of large pools of idle wealth, which increase the demand for investment assets, fuel financial innovation, and increase the size of the financial sector;
- And disproportionate political power for elite financial interests which often yields policies that negatively affect the stability of the financial system.
Read their analysis here.
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.
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.
The U.K.’s “Tent City University” offers a short course in occupied economics:
From Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz:
The best government that money can buy is no longer good enough.
Read his piece here.
“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.
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.
Recently critics have mounted a more fundamental line of attack on mainstream economists, taking aim at the ideology that has grown dominant over the past 30 years, which they say played a significant part in causing the Great Recession and not doing much to help solve it.
Read the entire piece here.