To read The Samuelson Sampler in the shadow of the Great Recession is to gain a glimpse into the mind-set of a bygone era. The sample is of the late Paul Samuelson’s weekly columns for the magazine Newsweek from 1966-1973.
Samuelson, a Nobel laureate, was the doyen of American economists: his famous textbook, Economics went through 14 editions in its author’s lifetime, introducing future economists worldwide to the rudiments of their craft. If not the sole originator, he was the great popularizer of the “neoclassical synthesis” – the mix of neoclassical and Keynesian economics that defined the mainstream of the field for 50 years.
Samuelson was a convinced Keynesian, though in a limited sense. He dismissed most of Keynes’sContinue reading...
Friday, December 19, 2014
Here is the text of a speech I made at the Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism (CSEP) event "The Economics Renaissance" on 10 October 2014. The piece is all about reforming the way in which economics is taught and covers my thoughts on the new CORE curriculum led by Professor Wendy Carlin.
A common aim of reformers is to give students the 'tools' to understand 'the problems that excite them'. The assumption of some reformers is that the tools already exist; the main task of reform is to 'bring them to bear' on the problems, rather than presenting them as abstract models.
To cite Professor Carlin: students must be taught how to drive car the car as well to build it.
In other words, the main problem is learning how to drive
The Moscow School of Political Studies (recently renamed The Moscow School of Civic Education) is 21 years old. In 2003, it received the following message:
I congratulate you all on the 10th anniversary of the Moscow School of Political Studies.
The School is well known in Russia and abroad for its active work in the promotion of civil society, and as a forum which brings together young politicians, journalists and businessmen from the very different regions of Russia. Here in the School these young people have the opportunity to listen to world-class experts, and to engage in free-ranging discussion with them about the most pressing problems of political and economic life.
All who participate in the School’sContinue reading...
Where has the conference silly season left the debate on economic policy? George Osborne claims to have routed his critics: fiscal austerity has produced recovery. Labour, seemingly amazed that recovery has happened, has promised that a Labour government will continue to cut the deficit, albeit a little more slowly. The Liberal Democrats would join them in the slower lane. The main point of difference seems to be that “Labour cuts” will be fairer than “Tory cuts”.
The budget outcomes tell a different story. Osborne will have failed by a wide margin to meet his deficit-reduction targets in this parliament. The deficit is now likely to be more than £70bn in March 2015, when it should have been zero. This is a prima facie indication thatContinue reading...
Osborne’s half-term report
| Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Budgets are more politically than economically significant. Some fancy financial juggling creates the illusion of activity – a tax here, a hand-out there – and the media decides the winners and losers. The economic trajectory of the government remains unchanged. This time motorists may be the winners with a fuel tax cut; the government will have to find a set of losers less vocal than pasty-eaters.
But this Autumn Statement is also the government’s half-term report.
Two and a half years into George Osborne’s chancellorship, the failure of his economic strategy is plain to see. The OBR has consistently predicted growth higher than independent forecasts, and consistently been proved wrong. Their report will confirm what was alreadyContinue reading...
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