Archive for February, 2010

Regarding nominations for the Revere Prize and media response to the Dynamite Prize

February 24, 2010 4 comments

The following clarification has been added to the nominations page for the Revere Prize  Read more…

New Blog on ”Triple Crises” in Finance, Development, and Environment

from Kevin P. Gallagher

Triple Crisis Blog to Bring Global Perspectives to Policy DebateOn February 1, new voices joined the policy debate on the global crises in finance, development, and the environment. The ”TripleCrisisBlog,” with an initial roster of economic analysts from nine countries, was launched by the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University (USA), India’s Economic Research Foundation (ERF), and the Heinrich Boell Foundation-U.S. The initiative is chaired by GDAE’s Kevin P. Gallagher and ERF’s Jayati Ghosh. Read more…

Greenspan, Friedman and Summers win Dynamite Prize in Economics

February 22, 2010 46 comments

Alan Greenspan has been judged the economist most responsible for causing the Global Financial Crisis. He and 2nd and 3rd place finishers Milton Friedman and Larry Summers, have won the first–and hopefully last—Dynamite Prize in Economics.

They have been judged to be the three economists most responsible for the Global Financial Crisis. More figuratively, they are the three economists most responsible for blowing up the global economy.

Most than 7,500 people voted—most of whom were economists themselves from the 11,000 subscribers to the real-world economics review. With a maximum of three votes per voter, a total of 18,531 votes were cast.  The poll was conducted by PollDaddy. Cookies were used to prevent repeat voting.

Dynamite Prize Citations   Read more…

Do we put a price on Nature, including the ecosystem, or not?

February 19, 2010 8 comments

from Edward Fullbrook

Two articles in today’s Guardian point to a major dilemma facing economics and every economist. Do we put a price on Nature, including the ecosystem, or not? One of the Guardian articles leaks an unpublished UN report which estimates that the world’s 3,000 biggest companies cause $2.2tr of environmental damage a year and if made to pay for it would lose one-third of their profits. Read more…


February 15, 2010 4 comments

from Steve Keen

As most Australian readers would know, I recently lost half of a bet over Australian house prices when the Government’s “First Home Owners Boost”–which I prefer to call the First Home Vendors Boost–reignited Australia’s house price bubble.

As a result, I’m walking from Australia’s Parliament House to Australia’s highest mountain, Mt Kosciousko–a distance of 224km (140 miles). The walk will start at 2pm on Thursday April 15 from the entrance to Parliament House and–my legs willing–finish 8 days later on the summit of Mt Kosciousko (which is 2228 metres–or about 7000 feet–above sea level).

I have started a new blog to support the walk, which I will use to draw attention to the absurdity of basing economic policy on making housing less affordable.  Read more…

5,000 voters and 14,000 votes for the Dynamite Prize in first two weeks

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

With a maximum of three votes per person, the total votes cast in in the Dynamite Prize in Economics poll passed the 14,000 mark last night.  This turnout, which gathered pace in the second week, exceeds the organizers’ expectations.  Economics and finance blogs are taking a keen interest; and financial journalists, both online and off and in a number of countries and languages, have begun reporting the contest.

Here is an article from the Business Insider, which features photographs and dossiers of each of the finalists, The Dynamite Prize for Economics will go to the 3 guys who blew up the world.

Journalists have interepted the prize as a hopeful sign that within the economics profession there now exists a growing element with the view that economists, no less than other professionals, should accept moral responsibility for the consequences of their intellectual acts.

Social Complexity of Informal Value Exchange

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

from Bruce Edmonds

Informal value transfer and credit networks involve people or institutions providing credit or value transfer services based on social trust rather than laws and contracts. Such networks constitute a complex system that have been relatively unstudied yet have a significant impact on people’s lives.  Examples range from small baby-sitting circles up to the Hawala/Hundi systems of value transfer. Such exchange often involves many social processes and mechanisms other than those usually considered by economists, including: social norms, altruism, reputation, trust, group membership, friendship, kinship, identity, status etc.

A group of academics who aim to use empirical case-studies and agent-based simulation are forming to study these systems.  It will initially organise workshops and aim to apply for network/project funding later.

Its first event is a workshop: “SCIVE 2010” to be held at the European Conference on Complex Systems in September 2010 in Lisbon.  Details at:

If you want to join this effort, or merely be kept in touch with its activities, please email me, Bruce Edmonds on

Miscellaneous #2

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Short reads and new books from RWER contributors Read more…

On the ‘Nobel Prize in Economics’ and the monopoly of neoclassical theory at university departments of economics

February 12, 2010 16 comments

from Peter Söderbaum,

Early in October 2009 a journalist from a French business journal, Challenge, called me to discuss the so called Nobel Prize in Economics. He referred to a translated version of my critical article in Dagens Nyheter from 2004. I hope that the result from the interview was meaningful but at the same time I felt that I need to consider once more where I stand in relation to these issues. In what follows, there is a ‘socially constructed’ interview with myself in both roles; the person asking questions and the one responding. I hope this will clarify my position. Read more…

The Angry Bear is saddened

February 11, 2010 2 comments

Ken Houghton’s post on Angry Bear yesterday laments the absence of two Harvard notables from the Dynamite Prize’s short-list.

I am saddened to note that their faculty’s efforts in creating the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has been muted.

Such, at least, can be fairly concluded by the nominees and final ballot for The Dynamite Prize in Economics, being held at the blog of the Real-World Economics Review.

Consider that N. Gregory (“Greg”) Mankiw was not even nominated. The man who shepherded and shilled for the 2003 tax evisceration* in specific, and author of the textbook that corrupts more Econ 101 people than any other was not even nominated.

Then Michael Jensen—whose theories (purely by coincidence, to be sure) are used to justify shifting corporate profits on a massive basis from the company that makes them to the CEO who “runs” it—did not make the final ballot.

Even more than the damage done to their endowment—at least the guy who did that is on the final ballot, though for his general U.S. work, not his Endowment-during-his-divorce work—not being cited as responsible for the GFC, and therefore not being seen as Masters of the Universe, is saddening.

The remaining nominees are Very Worthy, to be certain (excepting Paul Samuelson, with whom people much have confused Robert). Vote early

Romer’s neoclassical colonialism

February 10, 2010 6 comments

from David Ruccio

Paul Romer’s solution to underdevelopment, in countries like Haiti, is the creation of “charter cities,” like the British colony of Hong Kong.

True to his neo-neoclassical origins (Romer was one of the founders of the so-called new or endogenous growth theory), the problem of development can be reduced to ideas and rules. Not exploitation or unequal land ownership. Not abuse of power or the commodification of society. For Romer, Read more…

Dynamite Prize in Economics: 2,000 people vote in first week

February 8, 2010 2 comments

In the first six days of voting for the Dynamite Prize, to be awarded to the three economists who contributed most to enabling the Global Financial Collapse, 5,836 votes were cast.  Voters are allowed to vote for three candidates.  PollDady does not record the number of voters, but reveals that many voters have voted for less than three economists. Hence over 2,000 people have novw voted.

The poll’s outcome remains very much in doubt.

CAFTA’s Golden Parachute

Kevin P. Gallagher

As a senator, Barack Obama voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (Cafta), because it did “little to address enforcement of basic environmental standards in the Central American countries.” A conflict over gold mining in El Salvador reveals that Cafta and similar deals may enable private firms to circumvent environmental laws and then parachute away with large sums of government money. This has to change.  Read more…

Name change: ‘Dynamite Prize in Economics’

February 3, 2010 Comments off

In some ears our “Ignoble Prize for Economics” sounds too much like the unrelated Ig Nobel Prizes, which are offered annually as humorous awards for dubious and outrageous accomplishments in many fields, economics included.  Confusion between the two would be regrettable, not least because our prize is offered without humor and the people deciding the winner are expected in the main to be subscribers to the Real-World Economics Review.  So henceforth the “Ignoble Prize for Economics” will be called the “Dynamite Prize in Economics”.

Why “dynamite”?  Two reasons.  One, it retains the allusion to “Nobel”, as Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prizes, made his fortune through the invention of dynamite.  Two, as initially announced, the prize is “to be awarded to the three economists who contributed most to enabling the Global Financial Collapse”, or more figuratively, to the three economists who contributed most to blowing up the global economy.

Heavy turnout on first day of voting for the Dynamite Economics Prize

February 3, 2010 1 comment

Yesterday a thousand people cast their votes for the Dynamite Economics Prize.  If you have not voted yet, please do.  And any help publicizing the poll will be much appreciated.

The King is dead. Long live the King

from Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra

The financial crisis has the makings of a Kuhnian revolution. In competition for a reconstituted sense of legitimacy are at least two houses of economic thought. The established regime of neoclassical economics provided the theoretical, normative and rhetoric scaffolds of financial regulation since at least the late 1960s. Behavioral economics, in contrast, emerged more recently as a reaction to the apparent illusion of rationality, uncovering the anomalies and biases that are unintelligible to the theoretical instruments of the previous regime. And today, whilst regulators scramble to rescue the institutions of the past and secure the markets of the future, economists wrestle – perhaps not nearly as explicitly as one would think – to redefine the nature and scope of their discipline in relation to the state and its regulatory practices. The contest between two royal households is on, between the extended neoclassical family and the smaller though by no means less robust house of behavioral economics.  Read more…

Pluralism in Economics and Research Assessment Systems

February 2, 2010 5 comments

from Donald Gillies

For the last five years I have been conducting research into the effects of research assessment systems such as the research assessment exercise and the research excellence framework in the UK.  There are now plans to introduce similar systems in other countries such as France and Italy.  My first paper on this subject was published in the post-autistic economics review in 2006 (,  and in December 2008, to coincide with the results of the last UK research assessment exercise, I published a book on this subject entitled:  How Should Research be Organised?  This is available here at and here at

The main result of my research is that research assessment systems have a systematic tendency to decrease the quality of the research output.  Read more…

Wither China ?

February 2, 2010 2 comments

from  Lewis L. Smith

The biggest “wild card in the oil deck” is no longer some yet-to-be-commercialized technology. Nor is it a country harboring nests of terrorists. Nor it is a producing country like Iraq, Iran, Qatar or Saudi Arabia.  It is China, a net consumer.

In part, this is because of China’s economic, energy, environmental, military and political importance. Howwever, the main reasons are two  —   the uncertainty surrounding the country’s  future and the undertainty as to future actions of its government in the international sphere.

At $4.2 trillion [2008] , China’s economy is the third largest in the world, after the USA and Japan. By 2020, Read more…

Voting is now open for the Dynamite Prize of Economics

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

The Dynamite Prize of Economics is to be awarded to the three economists who contributed most to enabling the Global Financial Collapse (GFC)

Voting is ultra quick and easy.  The ballot is near the top of the right-hand column.   Click on your three choices and then the big yellow “vote” button.  

22 economists were nominated for the prize.  Through consultation with contributors to the Real-World Economics Review Blog, the following short list of ten, including two pairs of economists, has been selected for the ballot. 

Short List with Dossiers of Nominees for the Dynamite Prize for Economics Read more…