Is Populism an Economic Problem?

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There are many reactions to the current rise in populism, and one which is considered in The Guardian’s Politics Weekly Podcast last week, was Should economists share the blame for populism?.

Looking at the Brexit and Trump votes in the context of the current economic situation, the turn to populism and alternative to the orthodoxy, is driven by a deep dissatisfaction with the current status-quo, is this a reaction to the current economy, there is a diversity of opinion on the panel.

Ann Pettifor is uncompromising in her criticism of the profession, She released a new book this Month The Production of Money.

At the and of the podcast the academic teaching of economics is brought up and what constituted the body of knowledge taught to students, this again was met with a diversity of perspectives from the panelists.

Next month we have Cahal Moran to talk about a book he co-wrote  The Econocracy, which is predominantly about the academic economics profession.

In the Long Run We Are All Dead: Keynesianism, Political Economy, and Revolution

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Verso has a new hardback by Geoff Mann.

This is as useful new book on the relevance, impact and significance of Keynes’s General Theory. And it is on offer at a discount along with a free e book version as well. However along with this book there is a separate and free e-book by the same author providing a guide to Keynes major work so even if you don’t buy the main book the e-book guide is completely free and would be very useful to students, staff and APEG members and supporters.


Richard Wolff on Marx

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One of the worlds eminent Marxist economists spoke to acTVism, about Marxist economics and it’s relation to education and our current political problems.

We have our own Reading group on Marx coming up, if you are interested please sign up on Facebook or contact us

“It’s the economics stupid”

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Yesterday Michael Jacobs and Mariana Mazzucato on the LSE’s Economics & Society Blog wrote The Brexit-Trump Syndrome: it’s the economics, stupid

“… The dominant economic consensus has been, rather, that financial markets are efficient, corporations will best innovate and invest when left to themselves, rising inequality is the price to be paid for growth, and the best role for government is to get smaller.

The great financial crash and the profound failure of the austerity policies which followed it should already have blown this orthodox economic consensus away. …”

Having institutions like the LSE publish articles which draw these links between the orthodox economics and the seemingly destructive nature of political engagement should make us all pause for thought.

When we start to ignore the real effect that our tools and models for public policy creation are having on society at large, we should not be surprised when the public seems to know better then the so called experts.

… They should also think much more creatively about how to socialise not only the risks but the rewards of investments they have supported. In areas like drug pricing, patent laws and the financing of innovation, the state has been far too willing to take the costs while allowing the private sector to reap the benefits. …

From the above article we also need a political and social engagement with the policy decisions affecting everyday life, currently the CETA trade deal is being read in the EU Parliament, and the Canadian legal commentator Michael Geist also yesterday:

First, the lack of study on the financial impact of a key element of the CETA highlights a crucial flaw in the government’s rosy assessments of the deal. While the government has been claiming that CETA will deliver major gains for Canadians, its own officials have not even studied some of the financial costs associated with the same agreement.

Are we not to be worried with a base level of economic analysis being missed on trade deals with will have intercontinental impact, maybe as well as the economics it’s the lack of economics, stupid.

Information Exchange – Inaugural

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At Aberdeen Political Economy Group (APEG) meetings we are regularly asked about further information on political economy and pluralist or heterodox approaches to economics. This is the first of four posts, possibly more, aimed at providing a series of guides to further information, resources, articles and books which APEG supporters might find useful.

The first post provides links to several web sites with useful publications and information on heterodox economics and political economy. Some of these also have blogs and newsletters to which you can also subscribe. For the most part subscription is free. Links are also provided to four main political economy currents.

A second post will follow, providing some references to Universities, Foundations and Academic Collaborative ventures which follow a political economy approach. Many of these will have papers you can download. A third post will give some links to blogs, books and articles on the history and philosophy of economic thinking and finally a fourth post will provide a selection of readings and texts on the economic and financial crisis.

Student Sources

Before elaborating on the first objective, here are two links to show we are not alone as a Group seeking a more pluralist teaching of economics. The first is to the Manchester Post-Crash Economics Society and the second to the International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics.


So to begin with, the Heterodox Economics Newsletter is a good start with listings of journal articles, new books and events. This is issued monthly and all their listings feature hyperlinks to the event or publication so definitely worth subscribing which is free. Their web site also hosts the highly useful Heterodox Economics Directory which has lots of info plus links to most political economy groups and schools of thought. So most of the links I have listed below can also be accessed from the HEN site. As an aside the use of the term heterodox and use of the term political economy is discussed in the directory. An article by Frank Stillwell also reviews the main arguments about the use of these terms.

A second useful resource is the World Economics Association (WEA) which also publishes a newsletter as well on line and mostly open access journals which are well worth subscribing to. The current edition of the newsletter has two excellent short articles by David Ruccio and Peter Radford on the teaching of economics and the state of mainstream macro and micro economics (pretty awful is the assessment!)

The Real World Economics Review (REWR) is a free open-access journal, but with access to the current issue restricted to its 26,018 subscribers (21/09/15). Subscriptions are free. Over one million full-text copies of RWER papers are downloaded per year.Real World Economic Review covers history, methodology and philosophy

The World Economics Association (WEA) also have also published a number of excellent political economy text books which you can view on the web site and buy but a good option is to join the WEA for a $25 subscription which allows you to download the texts as epub or pdf for free. Great value.

For some introductory readings on alternatives to mainstream economics, Hamburg University Pluralist Economics Reader offers basic readings in mainstream critique, pluralism and theoretical alternatives. Due to copyright reasons the reader must be used for self-learning purposes only. Comment on the reader and give content-related improvement proposals below – a new edition of the Pluralist Economics Reader will be published every year!

Theoretical Threads

A few web sites representing some of the main currents in political economy follow but others can be accessed via the HE Newsletter and Directory sites. Many of these have research papers which can be down loaded for free and as they are organized membership based groups, you can join them as a member for a small subscription

Post-Keynesian Study Group

International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE), which follows a Marxist political economy, also has a number of working groups each with publications

The European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAPE) is also suppored by the Foundation for European Economic Development

Foundation for European Economic Development (FEED) Has an extremely useful table comparing the core assumptions of mainstream against their approach to heterodox economics.

Feminist Economics and Feminist Political Economy – International Association for Feminist Economics

The Feminist Political Economy Network (FEM-PEN)  is a UK-based academic network that aims to facilitate research on and discussion of the gendered dimensions of the global political economy.

Two useful resources on feminist political economy can be found at:

 Feminist Political Economic Framework – By Maria Riley, O.P. 

SOCI 5806 Feminist Political Economy


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After nearly two years of silence Adam Curtis, the filmmaker, created a new blog post to go with a new film, which will be out on BBC IPlayer this Sunday.


“…these stories are woven together to show how today’s fake and hollow world was created. Part of it was done by those in power – politicians, financiers and technological utopians. Rather than face up to the real complexities of the world, they retreated. And instead constructed a simpler version of the world in order to hang onto power”

Sound familiar? I for one am looking forward to it. If you know nothing of Adam Curtis, watch the trailer and search out some of his previous work.

Danny Quah – The Liberalisation Delusion

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During our State event yesterday I was reminded of this speech and said I would share it with you.

Prof. Danny Quah, Li Ka Shing professor of economics in a speech at the Lee Kuan Yew School’s 12th anniversary event. Liberalisation as a model of international prosperity, borrows it’s precepts from many places. Professor Quah provides a personal account of an education in the heart of the liberal west, and questions the validity and even the reality of this model.

Mark Blyth, Chris Hedges, On Contact.

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Mark Blyth, Professor for International Politcal Economy talks to Chris Hedges on his show On Contact. A frank and powerful walk through the current global economic situation specifically around austerity and it’s repercussions. Exploring the specious arguments, around the effects of austerity to society, including student debt.