Author Archive

Beware! Competition for research funds can kill you

December 5, 2014 2 comments

from Grazia Ietto-Gillies

What I am about to report is not specifically about the economics profession. However, it is an economics issue in that it is linked to: competition for research funds and the management of academic researchers in the current culture where the public sector, including universities, is led by: targets; markets for academics – not that dissimilar from markets for footballers -; and competition.

A distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine of Imperial College London – Professor Stefan Grimm – was found dead in his London home in September following a review of his performance in getting research grants. A few weeks after his death, Professor Grimm’s colleagues received a delayed email, sent from his account, in which he told of his tragic story and which he wanted circulated. It speaks for itself as does the letter from his manager which Professor Grimm made public. Both can be found at: Read more…

The legitimacy of governments and of economic policies

December 3, 2011 8 comments

from Grazia Ietto-Gillies

In the last few weeks there has been much concern and writing about legitimacy and democratic deficits in connection with the technocratic governments in Greece and Italy. The concern on the latter refers to the fact that the heads of these two governments and (all or most of) their ministers are not members of the respective elected parliaments. Nonetheless, the new governments and their programmes have been approved by the parliaments of the two countries.

The media concern about the democratic deficit is justified. However, it is a concern that should be extended far beyond the confines of the present governments of Greece and Italy. Read more…

Divide and rule

November 17, 2011 2 comments

from Grazia Ietto-Gillies

Two now familiar sights on our TV screens. First sight: Merkel and Sarkozy standing together on an international podium and giving us their deliberations about another country. Second sight: the Prime Minister of the country deliberated on returning meekly home with a 30+ page homework to do. We know of meetings between Merkel and Sarkozy but we never hear of meetings between the leaders of the loser countries. Read more…

Globalizing Healthcare: A Prescription with Side Effects

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

from Grazia Ietto-Gillies

The piece by Dean Baker of 14 Oct 2010 (Globalizing Healthcare: A Prescription with Benefits) is very interesting and, no doubt, well meant. However, it does not take account of the wider implications of his globalizing prescription. There are many side effects of the prescribed medicine.  Read more…

To Peer Review or not to Peer Review

August 27, 2010 2 comments

from Grazia Ietto-Gillies

The debate on alternatives to the Peer Review system for the assessment of research has been going on for a little while and it is nice to see it has now hit the New York Times. It was highlighted in this blog by David Ruccio who raises the issue of how tenure and research funds can be allocated in the absence of a Peer Review system.

In  my 2008 paper  ‘A XXI-century alternative to XX-century peer review” real-world economics review, 45: 10-22, March I deal with similar issues and propose an alternative system to Peer Review, one that utilized the digital technologies while avoiding some of the pitfalls of Peer Review.    Read more…

Stagnationist roots of the current crisis

November 11, 2009 1 comment

Stagnationist roots of the current crisis

Grazia Ietto-Gillies

If a Martian had visited Earth in the last 20 years she would have been pretty puzzled to see a planet where lack of food and infrastructure was endemic in many countries; where even the rich countries had many people in poverty; where there are inadequate levels of basic infrastructures and public services and yet where many resources – including many bright people – were allocated to producing strange financial products that nobody could possibly want and very few people understood among the Earthlings let alone the Martians. Moreover, the people involved in these useless and socially dangerous products were the very ones that were gaining the highest rewards. How had that come about?   Read more…

Reducing unemployment via job sharing

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

from Grazia Ietto-Gillies   

I agree entirely with the arguments by Dean Baker on job sharing (Nov 3d). The economic advantages of reducing unemployment via job sharing are overwhelming. Government expenditure could be used to keep people in work rather than out of work. In the medium to long term this would also lead to fewer social problems (crime rates; health problems) and thus to lower expenditure to meet those problems. It would be an excellent scheme also for Britain.

However, I fear that politically it may be unacceptable. The anglo-saxon model of capitalism has been for too long based on shifting costs and flexibility to the labour market and the workers for such a scheme to be accepted. Employers and the politicians of the right and centre-right may fear that, once a shorter week is introduced as a remedy for the recession, the employees may get used to it and demand it permanently.

However, we should continue to press for it and insist that economic sense should prevail.

Grazia Ietto-Gillies

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