Home > Uncategorized > Post-Crash Economics: The world has changed, the syllabus hasn’t – is it time to do something about it?

Post-Crash Economics: The world has changed, the syllabus hasn’t – is it time to do something about it?

This economics student organization could serve as a prototype.  Check it out.  Sign their petition.  Join their Facebook group.

The Post-crash Economics Society

We are The Post-Crash Economics Society and we are a group of economics students at The University of Manchester who believe that the content of the economics syllabus and the way it is taught could and should be seriously rethought.

We were inspired to start this society when we heard about a Bank of England Conference called ‘Are Economics Graduates Fit for Purpose?’ At this event leading economists from the public and private sphere came together to discuss whether economics undergraduates were being taught the right things in the light of the 2008 Financial Crisis. This chimed with some of our frustrations about the economics we were learning and so we decided to set up a society that would through doing research, organising events and running workshops seek to bring this discussion to Manchester. That was at the start of the 2012/13 academic year.

As of today we have a fully-fledged society, a book club, an incredibly successful launch event lead by world class economists, many student and academic supporters, a petition that is constantly gaining signatures, links with a national network of economic societies and organisation and even more passion and determination to change the current state of economic education!

However, this is just the start. We will ensure that this society will become a permanent fixture on the Manchester economics landscape in the years to come, forever seeking to provoke discussion between students and staff about what economics is, what it should be and how it should be taught.

Society Constitution

1) The Post-Crash Economics Society has been set up to try and broaden the range of perspectives and the teaching methods used by the Manchester Economics Department.

2) We will run a campaign to build student support and engage in dialogue with the economics department.

3) We will run events, workshops and other activities.

4) We aim to be a society that is accessible to all students and staff with an interest in economics whatever their economic and political beliefs.

  1. paul davidson
    October 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    you might want to read my book THE KEYNES SOLUTION: THE PATH TO GLOBAL ECPONOMIC PROSPERITY (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009) a trade book explaining how Keynes’s theory [not the so called neoclassical synthesis (old) Keynesianism of Paul Samuelson, or the New Keynesian theory] explains how financial crisis can occur and the 07-8 crisis did because of the lack of well organized and OREDERLY financial markets in the so call mortgage backed derivatives markets.

    After all Keynes’s expertise was in the financial markets –as working for the exchequer during World War 1 (in charge of maintaining the UK’s reserves of certain foreign currencies), Bursar of Kings College,, and associated with various insurance companies Boards, etc. help develop Keynes’s pragmatic knowledge of the working of financial markets and why they are NEVER efficient.
    Then look at my text book POST KEYNESIAN MACROECONOMIC THEORY, 2nd edition (Elgar, 2011) which provides Keynes’s General Theory analysis as a monetary theory where LIQUIDITY and the use of money contracts [not real contracts] are the essence of a capitalist system — where these money contracts are used to organize all market transactions for production and exchange. These money denominated contracts are the essential institution for what Keynes called an “entrepreneurial” economy, i.e., market oriented capitalism.

    If the undergraduate syllabus used my textbook, the economics students would be “fit” to work for Central Banks, entrepreneurs , economic advisors to policy makers, etc. They would understand why the law of comparative advantage is only applicable (as Keynes specifically noted) for natural resources and climate related industries — but for most mass production industries, the same production technique is used throughout the globe — and so market demand will flow to those economies that value human labor hours the lowest– and create specific problems for workers in developed countries. It also explains how the Keynes Plan in Bretton Woods would solve this problem which we now call “outsourcing”.

    Unfortunately, no mainstream professional journal has ever reviewed these books — so very economists know about them or their content. Why no reviews?

    • October 26, 2013 at 2:40 am

      Instead of cherry picking what are apparently right (with historical hindsight) and attributing them to the doctrine of Keynes (which is debatable as claims), it would more helpful to comment on whether Keynes would have approved many policies now pursued in his name, as policy makers are saying, “we are all Keynesians now”.

      Would Keynes have endorsed “permanent” monetary stimulus at zero interest rates and bond yield suppression by quantitative easing? By “permanent”, I mean five years and counting or may be “permanent” is the “long-run” which is of no interest to Keynes.

      What about bailing out “too big to fail” banks with massive public funds, would Keynes have approved that as well? Would Keynes still be advocating “euthanasia of the rentier, the functionless investor”, which today includes pensioners living off interest income from their savings?

      Since markets are, or can be, irrational (according to Keynes), does this open the door for central bankers (through their dealers) to manipulate markets, not only the fixed interest markets, but also the stock markets, the mortgage markets, the gold and silver markets?

      Much what is happening today is done in the name of Keynes. Would Keynes have accepted responsibility? If not, then it is important for Keynesians to clarify what policies are not consistent with the Keynesian doctrine. This is a really important real-world issue.

      • October 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

        If you had read my b ooks you would already know the answers to the queries you are puttingh forh.

        I shall give one direct answer and hope to encourage you and your students to read my books.

        regarding the question of qe as a stimulus package. At the bginning of his administration, President Roosevelt tried to increase the number of dollars in people’s pockets to get out of the Depression.

        What was Roosevelt’s plan for his version of QE? Roosevelt increased the number of dollars per ounce of gold and then made it illegal for people to hold gold. Instead people had to turn in their gold coins, bullion, etc to the Treasury who gave then $SSS instead. [Similar to the Fed buying financial assets and giving the public dollar deposits instead.]

        Keynes sent an letter to President Roosevelt indicating that this idea of giving people more money in their pockets to get out of the depression was like “buying a bigger belt in order to get fatter.” Clearly, Keynes was saying to get fatter (more GDP) you had to eat more (spend more) and then yuo might need a bigger belt!

        If I give you the answers to all your inquiries , you will have no incentives to buy my books. So my plan to put more dollars in my pocket ad jobs in the publishing industry is to show you that there is a place where you can learn about wat Keynes would say about today’s problems — problems which were not so different from those in Keynes’s time!

        for example, Keynes recognized that the English manufacturers of textiles were “offshoring” jobs in the midlands to India in the 1920s and causing considerable unemp;loyment in the UK. He had an answer to those who argued that this was merely free trade under the law of comparative advantage so both workers in India and in the UK would be better off. Ifr you want to know the Keynes answe to the offshoring problem — see my books!

      • October 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        Only a self-interested neoclassical economist would care more about having “more dollar in his pocket” than to help the Keynesian economy out of a slump.

        If you had the morality and the courage, you would protest to the policy makers that what they are doing is against the doctrine of Keynes. Keeping silent is against everyone’s interests, even your own. May be you could sell more books by speaking out publicly, loud and clear.

        By the way, the questions I asked were mostly rhetorical. Answers to them can be obtained from a careful reading of Keynes own writing, which is the only valid place to find out what Keynes himself had actually said.

      • paul davidson
        October 27, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        Are you unable to see the satire in my statement that by buying my book you put money in my pocket? [ This is my rhetorical question] but you do create jobs in the publishing industry production and distribution! So the money in my pocket does not, ceteris paribus, help get us out of the world wide recession — but buying more real books does!!

        I have spoken out strongly against the policies undertaken in the last decades under both republican and democratic presidents! My books, if you will but try to read them will clearly show that I have adopted Keynes’s own text to explain how Keynes would react to current economic problems and policies.

        But since you are implicitly claiming to be such a great student of Keynes, perhaps you will cite the exact pages where (1) Keynes attacks the law of comparative advantage and the outsourcing problem, (2) what are the “essential properties” of all liquid assets which causes unemployment — even with perfectly flexible wages and prices, (3) why central banks can not directly affect the rate of inflation by changing the rate of growth of the money supply, — In my books I cite chapter and verse for all these Keynes arguments.

        And remember the whole point of this discussion was the fact that students at Manchester are fed up with the current economic syllabus and want a different set of readings and textbooks!! My books will provide them with what they want! Will you?

  2. paul davidson
    October 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    sorry for the typos in my reply to lyonwiss but I was using a netbook with a very small screen that was hard to read.

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