Saturday , June 25 2022
Home / Editor

Articles by Editor

University departments of economics are degraded to political propaganda centres.

17 days ago

From Peter Soderbaum
Climate change is perhaps the most threatening aspect of the ecological crisis but not the only one. Reduced biological diversity, reduced water availability and deteriorating water quality in some regions exemplify other relevant dimensions. On the financial side, the ‘market mechanism’ has been unable to come up to expectations.
How can these problems be understood? Many factors have certainly contributed but in my judgment neoclassical economics as disciplinary paradigm and neo-liberalism as ideology are among the most important. If actors in society have failed, this can largely be attributed to the mental maps they have used for guidance and these mental maps are largely connected with dominant ideas about economics (as conceptual framework and ideology) and

Read More »

Contextual economics

26 days ago

From Neva Goodwin
Starting in the early 1990s I have worked with a number of great colleagues to develop a full alternative that we call contextual economics. The name comes from our conviction that an economic system can only be understood when it is seen to operate within a social/psychological context that includes values, ethics, norms, motivations, culture, politics, institutions, and history; and a biophysical context that includes the natural world as well as the built environment.
The starting point for our contextual economics textbooks is an inquiry into goals: What are the appropriate goals for an economy? And, relatedly: What are the appropriate goals for the discipline of economics? Contextual economics emphasizes that most traditionally understood economic goals –

Read More »

The useful economist and economic research

27 days ago

From James Galbraith
The useful economist
The common characteristic of almost all of this work, excepting a few who preoccupied themselves with logical skirmishes with the neoclassical orthodoxy – e.g., the Cambridge-Cambridge controversies over the theory of capital (Robinson, 1956; Sraffa, 1960; Harcourt, 1972), or in microeconomics (Keen, 2011) – is that the protagonists were concerned, in the first place, with the practical questions of policy facing their governments or the international community of which they were a part. Whether reformist or revolutionary, their economics was (and still is) the elucidation of problems and the means of dealing with them. The purpose of economic reasoning is to inform and buttress political and social choices. It is not merely to create a

Read More »

Hazel Henderson obituaries

29 days ago

Washington PostGreen EconomyThe Telegraph
Hazel Henderson attacked economics as “politics in disguise” and demanded economists take account of quality of life.   And for two decades she offered moral support for this blog and the Real-World Economic Review.

“The paradigm of sustainability, with its notions of limitations and carrying capacities confronts dominant paradigms of progress which do not recognize limits to unchecked growth.”

Read More »

Great and rising inequality

May 23, 2022

From Jamie Morgan
An interest in great inequality and rising inequality have become prominent features of our times. According to Oxfam in 2019 the 26 richest people on the planet had equivalent wealth to the 3.8 billion who comprise the lower 50% of the world population. The previous year it required the top 43 to create this equivalence. The 2020 Oxfam report adds a series of statistical claims: the world’s richest 1% have more than twice the wealth of 6.9 billion of the world’s population, the 22 richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa (and the estimated value of the unpaid work of women in the world is $10.8 trillion); a report from the Institute for Policy Studies, meanwhile, highlights that US billionaire’s tax obligations as a %  of wealth reduced by 79%

Read More »

Ethical criteria which hold the sustainability of life at their core

May 22, 2022

From Fernando García-Quero and Fernando López Castellano
Overconfidence in the magical thinking of technification, economic growth, the free market, and neoliberal globalization has led many to forget that the state is the main policy architect and actor when facing a crisis. Successful responses to Covid-19 have shown, once again, the central role of states in organizing political measures that foster and maintain the welfare of their populations, through actions to guarantee quarantine, social distancing, mobility restrictions, as well as extraordinary support to manage losses related to the economic downturn.
The role adopted by the states and politics in countries’ performances when tackling COVID-19 is very different from the perspectives that dominate the current agenda of

Read More »

The Collapse of the India’s creative Industries

May 21, 2022

From Jayati Ghosh
There is no doubt that creative industries, along with care activities, are going to emerge as some of the most significant economic sectors of the future. Broadly speaking, the creative industries consist of advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts, publishing, research & development, software, computer games, electronic publishing, and TV/radio.
A 2019 report from by UNCTAD (Creative Economy Outlook 2019, Geneva: UNCTAD) notes how these activities are valuable in both cultural and commercial terms. Obviously, they improve human and social well-being, and as expressions of the human imagination, bring joy, meaning and fulfilment to lives. In their finest forms, they can spread important social and

Read More »

In economics value-neutrality is an illusion

May 18, 2022

From Peter Söderbaum
I am a professor emeritus with many years of experience of the functioning of university departments of economics and other social science disciplines, such as business management. As has already been made clear I consider the close-to-monopoly position of neoclassical theory at university departments of economics as a major problem in relation to aspirations of sustainable development. The two “facts” that (a) values are necessarily involved in research and education and (b) those employed at university departments of economics live in democratic societies – means that economics (in democratic societies) cannot be reduced to a centre of propaganda for those values that are built into the neoclassical paradigm. A degree of pluralism in education and research

Read More »

Economics Textbooks

May 17, 2022

From Steve Keen
Thomas Kuhn once famously described textbooks as the vehicle by which students learn how to do “normal science” in an academic discipline. Economic textbooks clearly fulfil this function, but the pity is that what passes for “normal” in economics barely deserves the appellation “science”.
Most introductory economics textbooks present a sanitised, uncritical rendition of conventional economic theory, and the courses in which these textbooks are used do little to counter this mendacious presentation. Students might learn, for example, that “externalities” reduce the efficiency of the market mechanism. However, they will not learn that the “proof” that markets are efficient is itself flawed.
Since this textbook rendition of economics is also profoundly boring, the majority

Read More »

Weekend read – MMT, post-Keynesians and currency hierarchy: Notes towards a synthesis

May 14, 2022

From Luiz Alberto Vieira and current issue of RWER
Introduction
The current moment seems favorable to debate and potential reconsideration of theoretical systems, a situation derived both of developments in the analysis of public financing and the nature of money, but also, largely, due to the particular political and social circumstances observed in many countries. US hegemony is in crisis, as its industrial might decreases and is put in question by China’s development. The Asian country is now responsible for a large part of the world’s industrial output, boasting a complex and innovative economy. Another point worth noticing is former president Trump’s challenge of the basic principles of American politics and society, a situation the US shares with other countries.
Trump’s defeat

Read More »

The threat of a pharma-dictatorship

May 12, 2022

This is an extract from Norbert Häring‘s International Health Regulations: A big step toward a health dictatorship is imminent 12 May 2022 
What the U.S. has in mind here is an authorization for the WHO to immediately take the reins out of the hands of national governments in the event of an actual or alleged health risk from a pathogen and to be able to determine the assessment of the situation and the countermeasures. The US and their allies in this, the EU and Switzerland, are home to most of the major global pharmaceutical companies, To be sure, governments would retain the right to say no. However, this right is greatly devalued by the fact that they can then immediately be pilloried worldwide, either by the WHO or by a single, powerful government, such as that of the USA.
Should

Read More »

The magnitude of the required reductions

May 9, 2022

From Ted Trainer and current issue of RWER
It is not commonly understood how large the reductions would have to be to enable a society that is globally sustainable and just. The World Wildlife Foundation’s Footprint measure (2018) estimates the average Australian per capita use of productive land at 6–8 ha. Thus, if the 9–10 billion people expected to be on earth by 2050 were to live as Australians do now, up to 80 billion ha of productive land would be needed. But there are only about 12 billion ha of productive land on the planet. If one third of it is set aside for nature then each Australian would be living in a way that would require about 10 times as much productive land as all people could ever have. Some other measures taking into account factors such as materials consumption

Read More »

COVID-19 has shown that capitalism is not enough

May 8, 2022

From Fernando García-Quero and Fernando López Castellano and current issue of RWER
Constructing the capitalist world-economy was only made possible through the use of racism and sexism as tools for the hierarchization and categorization of the population (Mbembe, 2000; Wallerstein, 2000). The history of capitalism is also the history of the open veins of the South and massive exploitation of natural resources (Galeano, 1972; Herrero, 2013). Its logic of accumulation entails irreconcilable contradictions and growing inequalities between centers and peripheries (Prebisch, 1949). In the field of Development Economics, the structural adjustment policies promoted by the Washington Consensus are a contemporary example (López Castellano, 2009), as are the Troika impositions which, in 2011,

Read More »

A world economy in disarray

May 2, 2022

From C. P. Chandrasekhar
When the world’s financial leaders met mid-April at Washington for the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the mood was one of gloom. The world economy is in disarray, with world leaders clueless as to where it is headed or what can be done to prevent a possible collapse. In the April 2022 edition of its World Economic Outlook, the IMF has slashed its 2022 GDP growth forecast of six months ago by 1.3 percentage points to 3.6 per cent, and projects growth to remain below that level for the next two years. Inflation that had emerged as a problem in 2021 has been accelerating over the past three months, and expectations that the price spike would be transitory seem wholly misplaced. And supply levels and price trends are

Read More »

Things to consider when reading Mankiw 9th ed. Chapter 1: Ten Principles of Economics

April 25, 2022

From Rod Hill and the WEA Textbook Commentaries Project
The definition of economics.
Mankiw begins by defining economics: “Economics is the study of how society manages its scarce resources. In most societies, resources are allocated … through the combined choices of millions of households and firms. Economists therefore study how people make decisions” about working, spending, saving and investing their savings. Economists “examine how the many buyers and sellers of a good together determine the price at which the good is sold at the quantity that is sold.” (p.1)
With this definition, the ‘economic problem’ becomes how to allocate scarce resources efficiently, i.e. putting them to their most valuable uses. This definition also sketches out the framework developed throughout the book:

Read More »

WEA Commentaries – volume 12, issue 1

April 23, 2022

Download the whole issue
What Caused Russia to Invade Ukraine?David Lane
Economic Implications of MOOCs in Higher Education: An Indian perspective
Binay Kumar Pathak
An interview with Andrea Terzi on the current situation in the euro zone and Italy in particularMitja Stefancic
Rethinking economics: an interview with Sam de Muijnck and Joris TielemanMitja Stefancic
Please click here to support the World Economics Association

Read More »

Weekend read – Making thoughts unthinkable – the soft power of economic theory

April 22, 2022

From WEA Pedagogy Blog

The 1932 science fiction novel Brave New World portrays a dystopian future where history is rewritten and words are redefined in order to make undesirable ideas “unthinkable.”footnote 1 The book is often associated with George Orwell’s 1984, where those who do anything undesired by those in power are made into an “unperson,” with all evidence of their history destroyed. When anyone speaks the unthinkable, they are simply defined out of existence.
More generally, in Brave New World, the populace is controlled by inundating them with false pleasure. In 1984, they’re inundated with needless painfootnote 2. Outside of fiction, here in the real world, both techniques are used. Examples of the former include endless escapism via streaming episodic video series, and

Read More »

Panic about petrol prices

April 19, 2022

From C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The latest IPCC report makes it clear: the planet is now dangerously close to a tipping point and reliance on fossil fuels has to be drastically curtailed and even fully eliminated soon, to avoid catastrophic climate changes. Obviously, this urgent call fell on deaf ears where it matters. It didn’t take long, or even very much, for world leaders—especially those who should really know better and have the means to do otherwise—to renege on their very recent pledges to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
The latest excuse for avoiding the most basic inconvenient truths is the outcome of the Russian war on Ukraine. All it took was an increase in global oil prices and the (much faster) increase in retail oil and gas prices within the US for President

Read More »

Ecological Damage Index – a failure index

April 14, 2022

From Jorge Buzaglo and Leo Buzaglo Olofsgård and current RWER issue

Ecological Damage Index

The ecological dimension of the extended failure index includes only one indicator. There are of course many other sources of ecological damage, but climate warming is by far the most dangerous and urgent.
GHG per capita emissions: That is, the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the average individual in the country. The personal GHG footprint reflects the country’s average individual damage to the atmosphere. (Source: WIR22).
The United States, Australia, and Canada are in a special category of very high (per capita) GHG emitters. The lowest emitters are low-income countries.

next the Exclusion Index
or read more now about failure indexes here

Read More »

Socio-Economic Dysfunction index – a failure index

April 13, 2022

From Jorge Buzaglo and Leo Buzaglo Olofsgård and current RWER issue
The extensive failure index defines six dimensions of economic and social malaise: socio-economic dysfunction, ecological damage, exclusion, distress, militarism, and alienation. Each of these dimensions is composed of a number of indicators of particular flaws. The (re-indexed) average of the indicators makes the index of the dimension. The (re-indexed) average of the indices for the six dimensions mentioned makes the extensive failure index.
Socio-economic Dysfunction Index

Our extensive list of “the outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live” includes the following components of socio-economic dysfunction.
Income inequality and II) Wealth inequality: The same as in Keynes’ and Piketty’s indices,

Read More »

The U.S. billionaires profiting the most from the pandemic

April 9, 2022

While Russian billionaires have been the focus of attention due to the ongoing fighting in Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions against Russian individuals and entities, their counterparts in the United States have accumulated an additional $1.7 trillion of net worth since the start of the pandemic two years ago. This marks an increase of 57 percent compared to March 2020 data from Forbes aggregated by U.S.-based organization Americans For Tax Fairness (ATF). As our chart shows, four of the six biggest earners are Big Tech CEOs.Florian Zandt

Read More »

Ethical criteria which hold the sustainability of life at their core

April 7, 2022

From Fernando García-Quero and Fernando López Castellano and RWER current issue
Overconfidence in the magical thinking of technification, economic growth, the free market, and neoliberal globalization has led many to forget that the state is the main policy architect and actor when facing a crisis. Successful responses to Covid-19 have shown, once again, the central role of states in organizing political measures that foster and maintain the welfare of their populations, through actions to guarantee quarantine, social distancing, mobility restrictions, as well as extraordinary support to manage losses related to the economic downturn.
The role adopted by the states and politics in countries’ performances when tackling COVID-19 is very different from the perspectives that dominate the

Read More »

The role of ideology in economicss

April 5, 2022

One of the purposes – if not the main one – of mimicking physics was to argue that economics is a value-free science as it is argued about the natural sciences.
However, the truth is that every researcher starts her work expecting to arrive at some result. The critical issue is if, in the process of investigation, she is open to consider arriving at a different conclusion although it may contradict her own and her colleagues’ a priori beliefs.
Any individual or social group has a certain set of beliefs and values, a certain weltanschauungen, which permeates their ideas and attitudes. Although they seem quite natural for them, they are prejudices in the sense that they are opinions or feelings formed beforehand without a scientific knowledge to support them.
As Irene van Staveren

Read More »

Introducing maldevelopment indices

April 4, 2022

From Jorge Buzaglo and Leo Buzaglo Olofsgård and RWER current issue
In recent years there has been a proliferation of alternatives to move beyond GDP as an indicator of socio-economic wellbeing. This was most probably due to the growing distrust of GDP as an appropriate metric for measuring the degree of advancement of societies. Another probable reason for the growing GDP disbelief is the ecological crisis rapidly approaching catastrophic levels, and the international opinion and mass mobilization it has given rise to. Ecological disruption is not a subject about which GDP has much to say — although there have been attempts to adjust GDP to allow for the costs of environmental destruction.1 GDP is not only a socially (distributionally) blind indicator but also an ecologically blind

Read More »

The fragility of contemporary capitalism

March 27, 2022

From C. P. Chandrasekhar
While the world remains preoccupied with the geopolitical and humanitarian fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, its economic consequences are increasingly a matter for concern. Though the two countries at war account for less than two and one half per cent of the world’s population, it emerges that the damage to production within their boundaries and the suspension of their trading relationship with rest of the world threatens a crisis in multiple markets, not least in the markets for food and oil where shortage abound and prices are rising. This is are typical illustrations of the entangled fate of nations in a globalised world economy.
But there is more that the war in Ukraine is showing up. Events in unusual corners of the global economic system

Read More »