My web-site HUB page HERE
Not fully comprehensive at present, and in need of organization of the layout.

Economics should serve us, not vice-versa. For example, instead of presuming "growth-is-good", and people serving this mantra, the BBC, media, and everyone should question this presumption (as I do below; Rupert Read calls it "growthism" as opposed to "ecologism"). There is a third way beyond neoliberalism and the Keynesianism it supplanted in the mainstream media.

Economics is (or should be) about resource distribution, and
mechanisms to enable this. Economics to be optimal should enable both equitable and sustainable distribution of resources, and is failing if it increases inequality in income, wealth and opportunities above the unacceptable state it is in now. Economics must work for the long-term interests of all of us, not just the short-term interests of "The 1%". (And "trickle down" does not work!). And especially this century - it must recognize and be compatible with the fact that many natural resources are limited not infinite: that's what I mean by sustainable.

This piece by Richard Lawson summarizes well some of my views on the coalition's "economic" policy:
Four Tory Lies and Myths about the economy' 26jun13 - Mabinogogiblog - Richard Lawson (opposite views to Nigel Lawson. I presume unrelated!).

This pdf I wrote attempts to summarize UK's economic scenario, how we can improve it and baulks to progress to be demythed/debunked or demolished: MyCommentsInPieria26-27jun13belowFrancesCoppolaPiece.pdf - Scroll down on present web-page to read my summary of Pieria. Strangely - no-one picked out my almost deliberate mistake - of belittling the yearly cost to the UK taxpayer of paying interest on national debt (because the impacts of its size have been so blinkerdly exaggerated by the coalition government in its flawed propaganda to justify austerity; in reality it is a significant amount [c.7% of gov expenditure] but not as relatively big a problem as made out by coalition government and the media, with their "deficit obsession". Independent economists regard reducing the annual deficit as NOT being the top priority for the UK economy, and want it reduced sensibly in due course, not rapidly immediately).

In 2015 April-May-June I wrote this pdf article on "The austerity con, austerity delusion" subtitled: "There is a strong economic case against austerity – that has been hidden from the electorate"   or   It's collates some of the many useful references on this subject. The first paragraph needs re-writing as it compresses too much into one paragraph. And the green alternative to the neo-Keynesian v neoliberal needs explaining more.

Background for economics: the broader context must be borne in mind (economics must sit within a broader context or framing of values for the benefit of all of us, otherwise it can, and is, misused by e.g. neoliberalism. It's a tool not an end in itself).

Politics is inevitably connected to economics as politicians play a big part in deciding which economic rationale is to be applied by government to affect 1. the regulatory "playing field" in which economic activity happens, and 2. the use of fiscal and monetary tools available to government and Bank of England respectively (in the case of UK). [Fiscal: government tax and expenditure for example; monetary: BofE interest rates and money supply tools ("printing money" e.g. Quantitative Easing - buying and selling of government bonds, or the sadly avoided 'helicopter money' aka "QE for the people" as opposed to for the banks). Note that the BofE cannot further stimulate economic activity by lowering interest rates when the latter are near to zero - what economists call the Zero Lower Bound]. Unfortunately the coalition's choice of austerity cuts in government expenditure is a prime example of where political ideology has supplanted economic sense.

GROWTH - Is it an economic necessity?

"Infinite growth on a finite planet?" All of the major political Parties support the neoliberal model for sustained (though not 'sustainable') economic growth, except for The Green Party. A number of economists ignored by the pro-growth media say that we need an economic system that works for all of us even if there is no growth. Also,  some state that zero-growth is even essential for mankind and the environment in a world in which many resources are finite and in which carbon emissions are associated with consumption of resources. The environmental journalist George Monbiot urges that the fossil-fuel-driven economic growth model is heading us towards disaster:  'It's simple. If we can't change our economic system, our number's up' "It's the great taboo of our age – and the inability to discuss the pursuit of perpetual growth will prove humanity's undoing" George Monbiot, 27may14 The Guardian. Our climate and our essential natural resources and biodiversity are at stake - and us too. Relevant here is Prof Tim Jackson's acclaimed book "Prosperity without growth". The Green Party's Rupert Read writes this: 'Green economics versus growth economics - The case of Thomas Piketty' in Radical Philosophy - which I've yet to read but must soon. Andy Dobson, Politics Professor, Keele University: 'The Politics of Post-Growth' (pdf) GreenHouse thinktank Andy Dobson wrote manifesto(s) for the Green Party.

It is an absurd irony how graphs from official statistics show that the coalition's ideologically-based austerity policies have reduced GDP and growth below what they'd otherwise been, despite Osborne's push for "economic growth" and reducing the deficit as priorities above all else! [graphs e.g. in Prof. Simon Wren-Lewis's articles]. Oh well - at least that's meant we've avoided the extra consumption of resources and extra carbon emissions we'd have had if austerity hadn't been implemented! Nonetheless austerity is socially unacceptable as well as having an inadequate economic rationale and has resulted in wastage of labour resources, as SW-L also shows.

The application of economics to the environment and ecosystems:    (e.g. to aid their exploitation for profit)
Video of George Monbiot brilliantly speaking on “The Pricing of Everything” [including nature]  SPERI - Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, The University of Sheffield. Includes section on Framing and Values, Intrinsic values and Extrinsic values (Refer to: George Lakoff framing values), and many other aspects. 49mins: peoples values & changing them. Reminds me of 'citizens' v 'consumers' framing by labelling/memes.

On AUSTERITY and CUTS, and the deficit:            "the austerity con"

                1.  AUSTERITY CUTS don't just reduce expenditure but also reduce tax revenue, such that the deficit is not reduced at the rate hoped for [annual deficit = tax revenue - expenditure]. This is because austerity cuts reduce economic activity - and thus tax revenue, and also delay economic recovery from a recession.
                2.  The deficit anyhow is not the most important factor limiting the UK economy that the government should prioritize (though it shouldn't be ignored).
Austerity has been shown to be a con by independent academic economists (including Nobel laureate economists), and Oxford University's macro-economist Professor Simon Wren-Lewis explains this in words accessible to non-economists here: 'The Austerity Con' [I summarize it on Fb here and scroll below - to where I've pasted that text] (SW-L often writes against austerity in his blog 'mainly macro' - I link to that below). SW-L explains that deficit-reduction is not the number one priority action for the UK economy, and the news-media are wrong to accept this coalition myth uncritically (so too Labour are wrong to go along with it for fear of the media and false public perception that the media have created). Also read e.g. Ripped-off Britons  On election, Cameron said the cuts were temporary, and not ideological. Now he’s saying they’re permanent, and ideological
Monbiot refers to Naomi Klein's book 'The Shock Doctrine' and says the whole purpose of austerity is to change society to shift us from intrinsic values to extrinsic neoliberal values. I might add that it's yet another cloak for shifting power and money from lower income to higher income people and "shrinking the state".

Who holds the financial (and thus sadly political) power over economies:
'Who's in control – nation states or global corporations?' "Around the world, calls for national autonomy have grown. Minorities are blamed but the real culprit is neoliberalism" Gary Younge 2jun14  Comment is free   The Guardian @garyyounge I added this comment: "And with the "major" UK Parties ConLibLab - all neoliberal and sucking up to corporate power, and the neoliberal #BBCbias giving underproportional airtime to the Green Party (the only main non neolib, non-corp-controlled Party), the big transnational corporate interests are now doing a major global power grab to lock in their control yet further, with the EU-US free trade and investment agreement TTIP (and e.g. CETA, TPP...). Please try and stop this: try my template to MPs:".
'Savage capitalism is back – and it will not tame itself' "Capitalists spread prosperity only when threatened by global rivalry, radical movements and the risk of uprisings at home" David Graeber 30may14  Comment is free   The Guardian. In my tweet with link to this article I wrote: "Omits tht ConLibLab now ALLwork 1st4bigbiz not us" - referring partly to Blair's New labour shifting Labour to the right and being over-chummy with bigbiz, then later - Labour following advice from big bankers.

LINKS to: 1. My notes on economics, 2. articles and old news re ECONOMICS: and for pre-2013: - a big file!   3. Also may be economics links in my page of unsorted refs/links (all subjects mixed up but in approx chronological order):

These classify links into categories e.g. :  As yet unclassified economics items including INEQUALITY & the living wage,  The OCCUPY movement and Uncut movement (no austerity cuts, instead no tax-dodging & no tax haven secrecy etc.), Robin Hood Tax , Progressive economics that work for all of us even if zero growth, and zero growth economics,  Tax dodging by the rich and by corporations (especially multi-nationals) & TAX HAVENS & City of London.

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Introduction  - my personal view from the outside, as an ecologist   (maybe needs re-wording to make the points clearer)
The UK and the world are facing increasingly
huge challenges such as increasing climate change and its destructive extreme weather events, environmental degradation, habitat loss, biodiversity loss, failing governance of food and water resources, income inequality, social injustice, the suppression and extinction of ironically sustainably-living indigenous tribes, etc, etc. Economics is about mechanisms for resource distribution, and the impossibility of infinite growth on a planet with finite resources has already been mentioned above. These problems or challenges are all affected greatly by the power of money and who controls, uses (and abuses) it. Increasing income inequality together with globalization - have hugely magnified the power of big money as used by the relatively few people (less than 1%) who have increasingly more of the whole "pie". [Oxfam found that the c.85 wealthiest people in the world have more than 50% of the entire world's wealth, and now that figure has been revised to less than 70 people]

Anyone who wants to prevent these national and global problems from getting worse needs to understand the variety of types of economics and pseudo-economics-ideology that are in contention, and also how money is created, banks became parasites instead of servicing our needs, etc, etc.

Whether you "like it or loathe it" (i.e. find the "can of worms" distasteful) - you have to have a very critical understanding of the main variations within economics, and especially their associated flaws, if you want to understand the underlying drivers for these major world problems, because politicians and their corporate masters chose which school of thought in economics best provides an ostensible basis to "justify" their policies. And politicians in turn use the latter to try and adjust the "playing field" on which companies interact and how wealth and essential resources for life become distributed. The spectrum of economics goes way beyond the orthodox textbook type - which progressive economists show to be partly to even mostly flawed - as well as having major omissions (e.g. how money is created).

Economics is currently, put simply (and maybe too simply? as it's of course more complex), a fascinating "David versus Goliath" battle of different schools of thought:

is the now-orthodox (to the media & public perception) economic presumption holding political sway now - and not just in the UK: It comprises the numerous neoliberal and neo-classical 'economists' working for city interests and think-tanks who support the "free-market" ideology favoured by the super-rich 1% and big business who they work for. The latter groups favour neo-liberalism as it provides a (pseudo-)academic justification for the greed-satisfying ideology of corporations - though in reality the latter is a 'market-failure' end-point of neo-liberalism which is more oligarchic, with a distorted 'playing field' that suppresses smaller enterprises and more fully locks-in increasing income inequality. We are unfortunately in the grip of a distorted form of market fundamentalism (distorted as it cherry-picks from the latter, as to what suits the oligopoly of the big players) - the ideology that the market "knows best" on how to solve almost every problem - despite its blinkered dodging of inconvenient evidence, its almost religious-like dogma, its lack of ethics, morals, and of a long-term broad vision of what we need to be thinking now to combat such major problems as the best use of finite resources, and preventing adverse climate change (listen to John Ashton speech re latter - link on my climate change page). Neoliberalism favours privatisation of public services ("private is better than public" myth), the austerity myth, and many other myths that much of the media (even BBC) has accepted uncritically as presumptions, as if there is no alternative.

"David" comprises a variety of those progressive economists and economists in academia who expose the myths that Goliath uses or the flaws Goliath ignores, and present alternative economics that provide an evidence-based academic rationale that can support progression towards a better world for all of us not just the most wealthy. Examples of economists working for the benefit of all of us not the few are those in the nef - the New Economics Foundation, and Positive Money (who have produced a joint report) [scroll down if you want links to these two]. Some economists go stages further - in insisting that zero-growth economics is essential for the long-term future as consumption is linked to resource depletion and mostly to fossil fuel extraction and use, and hence carbon emissions and climate change. [
Relevant here is Prof Tim Jackson's acclaimed book "Prosperity without growth". Linked to below]. Returning to "mainstream" economists: macro-economist Professor Simon Wren-Lewis considers himself part of the academic mainstream and is continually debunking the austerity myth, but the tv news media appear to ignore his critiques and  those of independent academic economists and prefer City economists or free-market thinktanks who have vested links. (We must not forget that some academic economists who teach graduates for City jobs may be influenced by "where the money comes from" and some have been criticized by students for selectively omitting topics that might expose neoliberal myths that City employers might prefer kept hidden).

Naturally with my scientific background, combined with an ethical value system, I favour the thinking of the more independent academic economists  - and the 2007/8 financial crisis has exposed to anyone with a critical mind the flaws and myths of the neo-liberal mindset, and the propaganda used to try and hide these flaws and myths. It is depressing how such propaganda appears to have succeeded in maintaining the very flawed neoliberal thinking that brought about the financial crisis. This is no doubt because it has been assisted not just by such right-wing papers as the Daily Mail, but also by the false balance and indeed right-imbalanced economics put across by the BBC (there is research evidence for the latter: BBC more often defers to neoliberal City economists and their think-tanks who have vested corporate interests, than independent academic economists or "left-leaning" think-tanks). Blame must also go to BBC and other news media for allowing to go unchallenged the frequent repetition by both coalition party MPs in government of the "mess that Labour left the economy in" - which aimed to create a myth in public perception that the crash and recession was brought about by "Labour profligacy" not by the banks de-regulated in accordance with neoliberal free-market dogma.

This "shock doctrine" propaganda [sensu Naomi Klein: in which crisis aftermath is exploited by the bad guys] has unfortunately been successful so far, as it exploits the post-traumatic psychology of mind-closure in response to fear amongst the less intelligent or less rational or more conservative (little 'c') populace who are suffering the most (and those who are not suffering, i.e. the more wealthy - are turning a blind eye or accepting the false justification)). Victims can be blind or myopic to who their real enemy is - and thus become vulnerable to the divisive divide-and-rule propaganda shown very clearly recently by the "scroungers versus ...." and the "skivers versus strivers" hate-propaganda (reminds me of propaganda used by the Nazis against the Jews). This diversionary propaganda has helped the neoliberal ideology to remain in power despite it's having caused the financial crisis and aftermath.

A Rowntree Foundation's recent report shows how much this propaganda has succeeded. But much more dismaying, indeed sickening, is the response to it by Labour's Tory-collaborating Frank Field who recently showed he has decided that the [neoliberal and tarnished-]"New" Labour should adjust their policies to the right to go with these myths and flaws as if they are true - instead of trying to debunk them. This will have serious consequences unless it is exposed and stopped. Labour allowed the Tories to engrain these myths into the public psyche by repetition - just after the election they lost - when they were over-distracted inwardly while choosing a new leader. [Blairism/New Labour is also neoliberal].

The teaching of economics: Since writing this text the following refreshing news has appeared:
'BBC Radio 4 - Teaching Economics After the Crash'
'Economics students aim to tear up free-market syllabus' (24oct13 Phillip Inman, Guardian). I hope they succeed in ending the neoliberal capture of economics!   and:
'Economics lecturers accused of clinging to pre-crash fallacies' Phillip Inman Nov13 - Economics Correspondent - Business - The Guardian
'Teaching evidence-based economics' Michael Joffe of Imperial College - Royal Economic Society
NB: please read this: 'Orthodox economists have failed their own market test' Seumas Milne 20nov13
"Students are demanding alternatives to a free-market dogma with a disastrous record. That's something we all need" Comment is free  The Guardian - via Gwen tweet.

what is it?   Here is the New Economics Foundation's 'Beginner's Neoliberalism' (6 part podcast audio) 2015

Neoliberal economics >>> neoliberal politics
: Part way down my website 'hub' page there is a section headed:
Why is our present government a big threat to the environment, and to our future quality of life? (& even our existence) - this summarizes some political aspects of neoliberalism and how it threatens our environment, and also gives a 'taster' of its historical background etc.

[continued] - On Prof Simon Wren-Lewis's article
'The Austerity Con'      [my text below is copied from where I summarize it on Fb here]

I've now completely read this article and strongly recommend it. It gives a history of UK and EU economies since the crash in easy to understand words for non-economists to easily understand.

Here's my summary: It shows how the media have deceived the public just as City interests and Osborne would like, into falsely portraying deficit reduction as no.1 priority for economic recovery (opposite to the truth), and austerity as a necessary means of achieving it (again opposite from the truth). It also reveals how this media deceit and ignorance (for it is partly as much ignorance as intended deceit), has enabled Osborne to hide from the public (though not from macro-economists such as SWL and those that follow them [eg me]), that Osborne latterly eased off on austerity to enable some recovery - then to deceitfully claim the recovery as validating his claim for austerity! Furthermore - he is deceiving again as he wishes to resume austerity if re-elected as if it's now proven a valid tool for recovery - the opposite of the truth. His real motive all along was to minimize the state and favour increased inequality (reducing the deficit was a pretence all along - which the media swallowed and regurgitated without any critical assessment [because they listened to City economists with vested interests, not the academic macro-economists such as SWL]. But the worst thing I save until last, because I suspected Osborne's deceit all along - no surprise there! It is how the LibDems were complicit (and/or economically illiterate or ignorant) in Osborne's deceit, and thereby showing treachery to those who'd voted for them to avoid Osborne and Cameron and the very things such as false-deficit-obsession and evil austerity that they'd inflict on us. And then claim a pat on the back for pushing for sticking-plaster for such evil - in the form of a raised personal tax allowance.

Future additions when I have time:
- summarize meaning of neoliberalism, market fundamentalism and distorted form of it being adopted which maintains a non-level playing field favouring the big guys not the SMEs nor the 99%.
- neolib > crisis - thus strange how neolib accepted not rejected after crisis. esp the "need for austerity" myth and the myth that the deficit and national debt brought about the crisis and/or is the highest priority post-crisis to be resolved  - distracting from fact that the private debt is what brought about the crisis and yet to be resolved. Also refer to the Reinhart-Rogoff errors and discussion in follow-up to this e.g. Kevin Drum 30may13 on 
 Miles Kimball and Yichuan Wang of the University of Michigan 's response in
After crunching Reinhart and Rogoff’s data, we’ve concluded that high debt does not slow growth - Quartz 29may13
 - explain how neoliberalism damages the environment
- explain how growth or un-selective growth threatens our natural resources and encourages carbon emissions
- explain how bubble-money creation by banks intrinsically demands and accelerates "hollow growth" and bubble creation, until the bubble bursts
- is it possible to have growth that is not environmentally destructive? If not - would it have to be zero growth, or even de-growth?
- "economic growth" is Osborne's banner yet he wants to stifle the sector that is showing good growth - almost 4% - the green sector.
- following from previous: are the Keynesian and post-Keynesian models compatible with not being environmentally destrcutive or depletionary of natural resources?

I've appended (in same colour text as this here) more of my thoughts on economics, and also economics-related quotations.

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GLOSSARY links                 - with thanks to Sophie Cade for finding these links & emailing them to me.

Degrowth: 'Degrow or die?' - Red Pepper -

: 'On the Origin and Evolution of the Word Inflation' -

QE - Quantitative Easing - definition from Financial Times Lexicon -
         And see notes below on QE and "helicopter money" (="QE for the people").

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Interesting websites and lecturers, authors etc:

PRIME ECONOMICS  @PrimeEconomics - for ‘Policy research on macro-economics’, ‘PRIME is an economic think-tank that promotes understanding of the nature of credit, and its role in determining macroeconomic outcomes. Fundamental to our approach is an implicit and explicit restoration of ethics in relation to money and credit.’ - Includes pieces by Ann Pettifor (worth following on twitter [see below]) - who predicted the 2007/8 fin.crisis. Great stuff, ditto nef, Positive Money, Tax Justice Network, ... PRIME ECONOMICS help expose the debunking of Osborne’s Reinhart & Rogoff economic pillar of sand

Positive Money
'Positive Money is a not-for-profit research and campaign group. We work to raise awareness of the connections between our current monetary and banking system and some of the biggest social, economic and environmental challenges that we face today. Positive Money believes that a major cause of many of our current social, economic and environmental problems lies in the way that we allow money to be created. We work to make the confusing world of money and banking much easier to understand.'

Transforming Finance  @tranfin  Campaigning for a new finance system that serves society, the environment and the wider economy.

nef - The New Economics Foundation
– economics as if people and the planet mattered Positive Money -          
Their joint submission to ICB pdf is worth reading (at least the beginning of it) NEF-Southampton-Positive-Money-ICB-Submission - download it from eg nef or Positive Money
nef @theneweconomics nef is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being. London, UK eg:
'Cancel the Apocalypse' book by Andrew Simms   Guardian bookshop
nef Mythbusters:  e.g. “Britain is broke - we can't afford to invest” - Stephen Reid -  the new economics foundation

More myth-busting - Guardian's Ripped-off Britons Liebrary  e.g. Do income tax cuts for the rich make us all richer  See the dismal evidence to the contrary 11mar12

'Four Tory Lies and Myths about the economy' 26jun13 - Mabinogogiblog - by Richard Lawson (opposite views to Nigel Lawson. I presume unrelated).

NB: very useful data: UK welfare spending  how much does each benefit really cost  Visualised It's a myth that most of welfare spending is on JSA and ESA.                     +                     p2p ZOPA - Showing you where your taxes get spent

Prof Richard Werner of Southampton Uni. -  Banking & The Economy - YouTube 30mar11 "Banks have a pivotal function in the economy, they are the main creators of the money supply. In granting or issuing so called 'loans' to their customers they create the money that is essential to make the modern economy work. In fact says Prof Werner: 'there is no such thing as a bank loan' he says what happens is credit creation, when banks make the money (credit ) needed out of nothing.  He explains how the system works, whereby, from a miniscule deposit of funds a huge amount of money is created.”                ** Richard Werner: Debt Free & Interest Free Money - YouTube 26may11 Dr Werner discloses facts about money creation that are at the core of every modern economy. About how the creation of the essential money that is needed to sustain growth is founded on debt. This suits banks, of course. Governments have huge debts, to banks, and few people realise that it does not have to be like this. Taxes are needed for paying for decades of past interest on government borrowing. Banking is an extracting mechanism. It extracts resources from the economy, through interest payments and the taxation needed to cover the debt burden of the government. Why borrow from banks and pay interest when there is an alternative way of money creation and allocation? Governments could create the money and allocate it into circulation through its spending programmes.

Positive Money

Useful ref re 97% - much of which is secured lending for esp house mortgages Full-Reserve-Banking-in-Plain-English1 (1) 2010-aug2012 by Positive Money
Positive Money How the BBC is misleading the public about the financial crisis 7aug12
How to reduce debt and unemployment   Positive News 5mar12 Ben Dyson
Guardian  Transforming finance - how do we fund the green economy  (video) Positive Money 17may13
& alternatives: 'How to waste 375 billion  (The Failure of Quantitative Easing)' (YouTube) - video by Positive Money <<<< well worth watching.

Pieria - Online Magazine - - shows 'Hot Topics'. Associate Editor: Frances Coppola, Director: Jonathan Portes. About us: "We are a social-network of experts and an online magazine.   We bring together experts from industry and academia to discuss some of the biggest issues facing our economy today.   Connecting policy makers, investors, senior executives, postgraduates and the intellectually curious with recognized thought-leaders from world renowned institutions.   We provide readers with the latest thinking on critical issues through an engaging mix of in-depth commentary, interviews, recommended reading, and our daily 'Hot Topic' reports.  Pieria is a must read for anyone who needs to know; and for experts who want their work to be more widely known.  HOW TO USE PIERIA   Pieria is like going to your favourite cafe, if your favourite cafe is frequented by some of the brightest people in their field; discussing and debating the big issues of the day, a melting pot of ideas, disciplines and points of view. It’s an ongoing conversation and we’ve designed the site to reflect this."  I dared to add some comments here:       I must read this some time >> Economics:  the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the world? 

NB: Jonathan Portes is a well-respected economist who is known for having examined UK population statistics and economics data wrt immigration and concluded there are net economic advantages to immigration [< maybe at least in the short term, and bear in mind that economic benefits are just one part of all effects, of which others could be both positive and negative - my comments]. He is "Director, National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Previously, Chief Economist at the UK Cabinet Office. Regular commentator on UK macro and microeconomic policy.".

Prof Simon Wren-Lewis - "an economics professor at Oxford University, and a fellow of Merton College. This blog is written for both economists and non-economists." - I subscribe to his blog 'mainly macro' -  on MACROECONOMICS. I like the way he criticizes Osborne's austerity policy. E.g. mainly macro  Why no public fury over austerity? 19nov13   Prof Simon Wren-Lewis argues that the coalition government's "need" for austerity is fundamentally flawed.

Martin Wolf (FT): 
In the Financial Times, Martin Wolf writes: "The essence of the contemporary monetary system is creation of money, out of nothing, by private banks' often foolish lending." He has recently (c.May 2014)

Disarm our doomsday machine "A crisis-prone system calls for measures to minimise the damage in the event of the inevitable"  Martin Wolf - "re financial crises an inevitable feature of capitalism? Must the government rescue the system when huge crises occur? In his book Stress Test, Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and US Treasury secretary during the 2007-09 crisis, answers “yes” to both questions. Yet these answers also harm the legitimacy of a market economy. It is bad enough if capitalism is crisis-prone. It is worse still if the state feels obliged to rescue those whose folly or criminality caused the damage, to protect the innocent. ...."

Tim Jackson  @ProfTimJackson   Author of Prosperity Without Growth and Director of the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group at the University of Surrey.   UK        Video:  'Prosperity for a Finite Planet'.

Prof Jem Bendell         Now at Ambleside  He is interested in the advantages of creating alternative or local currencies, and thus is also interested in how currencies such as Sterling fail.
TEDxTransmedia 2011 – Prof Jem Bendell - The Money Myth – YouTube  from October 2012 I will be Professor of Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cumbria

Renegade Economist – vg Economic Discussion & Critical Review - Versus creation of money by privately-owned banks, rent-seeking..., vs neo-classical economics. Film: Four Horsemen

Green Economy Coalition

Green Economics - founded by Miriam Kennet - - I haven't examined this yet

BlueandgreenTomorrow  - I've yet to examine this site; Looks interesting at first glance.  'The Guide to Sustainable Banking' 12oct12 - Blue and Green Tomorrow -

FEASTA -  "Feasta was launched in Dublin in October 1998 to explore the economic, cultural and environmental characteristics of a truly sustainable society, and to disseminate the results of this exploration to the widest relevant audience.".... "For example, the economic system demands continual growth if it is not to collapse into a catastrophic depression, and this leaves politicians with little alternative but to pursue short-term economic growth more-or-less regardless of the damage that that pursuit might be doing to longer-term environmental and social sustainability.  Feasta has spent a lot of time examining the reasons for this growth compulsion to see if an economic system can be devised without it."

Prof. Steve Keen (Australian)  - highlights the big role of private debt in an economy      - also uses mathematical models re this.
Scriptonite writes: "Steve Keen Debunking Economics – want to understand why our economic model doesn’t work, and what alternatives are available? Read this.
[my comments: neoliberal politicians and right-wing think-tank 'economists' can often ignore private debt & instead focus (as a distraction?) on public debt - which with the debunking of Reinhart & Rogoff's paper is now shown to be much much less significant (maybe even insignificant!) than as made out by neoliberal politicians who focus on it - probably as a distraction?]
Prof Steve Keen debunks neoclassical economics: Ignoring the role of private debt in an economy is like driving without accounting for your blind-spot.   British Politics and Policy at LSE 14mar12 Steve Keen is Professor of Economics & Finance at the University of Western Sydney, and author of the popular book Debunking Economics, a second edition of which has just been published (Zed Books UK, 2011; He will be delivering a public lecture at the LSE on 3 April 2012.  Steve blogs at and is on Twitter: @ProfSteveKeen.
Steve Keen @ProfSteveKeen Economics Prof, Neoclassical Economics critic, Debunking Economics author, Debwatch blogger Sydney, Aus
Andrew Lainton - a "keen" UK associate s.l. with Steve Keen is polymath planning consultant and mathematical economist Andrew Lainton (I follow him on twitter as he criticized the draft NPPF)
nef @theneweconomics Reconciling Krugman and Keen using nef's model @ProfSteveKeen Retweeted by Steve Keen

BBC Radio 4 - Analysis, Steve Keen  'Why Economics Is Bunk' Sun.10jun12 BBCR4  30mins

 - via  Sophie Cade & Gwen's Mum on Tue.14may13 (Gwen's mum Daphne had heard it on the radio)
Newsnight Economics Editor Paul Mason interviews the controversial economist Steve Keen before an audience at the London School of Economics. Keen was one of a small number of economists who predicted there would be a major financial crisis before the 2008 crash. He argues that if we keep the "parasitic banking sector" alive the economy dies, and says that conventional economics provides an unwitting cover for "the greatest ponzi schemes in history".  Producer: Kavita Puri.

Emanuele Campiglio - Reconciling [Paul] Krugman and Keen using nef's model   the new economics foundation

Paul Krugman and Stiglitz are not too far apart in thinking, and are worth following. Both are very critical of austerity ideology.

Economists: John Maynard Keynes vs free-market economists such as Friedrich Hayek (eg & Milton Friedman (much of Thatcherism & neoliberalism comes from Milton Friedman). Hayek is more of a purist market economist than Friedman - as Friedman allows a little state intervention - though only a tiny amount as compared with Keynes.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation - “Poverty, place and ageing society”  

PREDISTRIBUTION PRE-DISTRIBUTION acc to Wikipedia is a neologism[4] coined by Yale University Professor Jacob Hacker is the idea that the state should try to prevent inequalities occurring in the first place rather than ameliorating inequalities through the tax and benefits system once they have occurred as occurs under "redistribution". In addition, the term 'predistribution' has been used (in the same sense as indicated above) by authors James Robertson and Joseph Huber in the book, 'Creating New Money' (New Economics Foundation, London, UK) nef Policy Network eg

The Liberal  Politics - The Neo-Liberal Democrats by Simon Kovar AUG2010 The Orange Book neoliberalism   - A useful read as it distinguishes the neo-liberal Liberal Democrats from the social Liberal Democrats, i.e. right of centre vs left of centre.

Fiscal Multipliers, the IMF & the OBR   ToUChstone blog  A public policy blog from the TUC 10oct12 In economics, the fiscal multiplier is the ratio of a change in national incometo the change in government spending that causes it.

FILM: Inside Job 2010

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power   by Joel Bakan

INCOME INEQUALITY in relation to growth etc: UNCTAD - Trade and Development Report 2012 United Nations - ‘Policies for inclusive and balanced growth - Report by the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’ also covers eg: The interaction between unemployment and the wage share: 1. The traditional approach: employment creation through wage restraint 2. The alternative approach: wage growth as the key determinant of demand growth. “Higher wages and lower inequality can stimulate demand and output growth …” + read Conclusions pp166-7  - versus austerity & neoliberalism! - via tweet to Monbiot by writer for - and here’s Monbiot’s related piece:

George Monbiot‘If you think we're done with neoliberalism, think again’   George Monbiot   Comment is free   The Guardian 14jan12
The World's Richest 8% Earn Half of All Planetary Income & The top 1 per cent has seen its real income rise by more than 60 per cent over those two decades.  Alternet 28may13
LIVING WAGE: Paying the Living Wage benefits business as well as employees  4nov13 new economics foundation.

The OECD on inequality:  NB: OECD study report (2014?) found that increasing inequality reduces GDP. Because Austerity increases inequality, and GDP has an effect on total tax revenue, this implies that austerity - claimed by neoliberals/right-wing as a means of decreasing the deficit - is a factor that pushes the deficit upwards by reducing the total tax revenue via the route of increasing inequality and reducing GDP.

>>>>> More on INEQUALITY  << my web-page on this subject - but only just started in April 2014.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation - The Circular Economy - a new model for macroeconomics - products re-vamped by manufacturer recycling materials and reducing energy needs, designing out waste instead of designing in obsolesence

HELICOPTER MONEY, Quantitative Easing and Green QE

Firstly, to compare: the conventional QE that the UK government has implemented: Frances Coppola explains that it is primarily QE "for the rich", i.e. wealthy asset-holders (such as the wealthiest 5%), though the Bank of England states that it does have an indirect increase in safety for e.g. savers. Coppola concludes by writing:
"For too long we have turned a blind eye to QE's regressive nature. Surely the top priority now must be to address the inequality that "QE for the rich" has helped to cause."
However she doesn't reckon the time is now right for Corbyn's version of "people's QE" (that comes from Richard Murphy's ideas), preferring other methods.
Coppola Comment 18sep15: All QE is ""people's QE" - just not the right people -

Note - there are various types of "people's QE", some like Corbyn's version - is considered to have a risky downside of removing Central Bank independence. This is discussed by Coppola elsewhere and by Simon Wren-Lewis e.g. in his blog in c.sept.2015. A simple version in contrast - if demand needs stimulating - is to e.g. give everyone the same amount of money (that would be progressive).

Richard Murphy and Colin Hines
explain the subject well in "Green quantitative easing: Paying for the economy we need"

Adair Turner
& "helicopter money"  Turner defends permanent money printing - 6apr13 by Chris Giles, Economics Editor
Print money to fund spending – Turner - 6feb13 Adair Turner

'Helicopter money' is where the central bank injects money into the economy to stimulate it (when demand is depressed in a recession) without buying e.g. bonds or items to the similar value as the money it puts in (thus it increases the money in circulation - and as 'permanent' money unlike QE - Quantitative Easing). It has to be done with care because it is has the potential to devalue and increase inflation, but it has the potential benefit as a means of re-distributing wealth e.g. if everyone is given the same amount per person - this will benefit those on low income more than those on high income, whereas QE does the reverse. This could be stimulatory because austerity increases income inequality which decreases demand and so investment to meet demand. But many economists and orthodox thinkers are scared of it as it has been abused in the past through history (e.g. by the Weimar Republic after WW1, ?Argentina etc), and an EU treaty is against it. It would be dangerous in the wrong hands (such as Osborne: it's unlikely to appeal to his ideology, unless it can be (mis-)used to increase the wealth of his chums and wreck destroy habitats (which he regards as an impediment to growth)). Also people are fearful of making a precedent of using it - even if it succeeds - as it could later be abused. Prof. Simon Wren-Lewis here explains helicopter money and why fears of using it are exaggerated: the "taboo is unrealistic".   And read:  'Can helicopter money be democratic'
- mainly macro.

QE differs from 'helicopter money' as although both try to stimulate the economy by injecting money into it, QE does this by the gov buying bonds etc from e.g. financial institutions such as banks or big companies (e.g. re corporate bonds), in an effort to stimulate the 'supply side' rather than the 'demand side' (when the Central Bank interest rate has reached its minimum of at or near 0% so cannot have any further stimulatory effect). But the main beneficiaries of QE money are rich people and bodies who are already wealthy, and the rest of the populace gain very little from it - as "trickle down" is now considered to be insignificant or a myth - thus ineffective. Thus QE increases income inequality, and it's ineffective as it does not help the demand side (with injection stimulation, both supply and demand side need to be simultaneously addressed such that they match - in my a priori opinion).  A thank you to Sophie Cade for finding a good explanation of it (see link to FT Lexicon's excellent explanation below) - which shows that it involves buying e.g. corporate bonds or gov bonds. (I had been unclear whether corporate or gov bonds - a big difference, as the latter would I guess reduce some of the public debt at the same time; it can be both - but what was the ratio of the two bought by UK's QE?). QE also means that gov likely to lose money that the wealthy gain - as re interest, and if the bonds or whatever items bought lose value - but I am not 100% clear yet on the detail as how this happens.

QE: ‘What is quantitative easing?’ BBC News, 7mar13  QE - Quantitative Easing - definition from Financial Times Lexicon - via Sophie Cade. V.G. on QE in USA: 'Quantitative Crisis: Bernanke's "Stimulus" For the 1%' - 

QE & alternatives: 'How to waste 375 billion  (The Failure of Quantitative Easing)' (YouTube) - video by Positive Money <<<< well worth watching.

SMC: Sovereign Money Creation - (Positive Money) - this is a much better idea: new report by Positive Money (pdf): Sovereign-Money-Final-Web
Sovereign Money Creation: Paving the Way for a Sustainable Recovery Positive Money Nov2013
Sovereign Money Creation vs Modernising Money Positive Money 13nov13

MMT: Debt, Deficits, and Modern Monetary Theory - by Bill Mitchell is the Research Professor in Economics and the Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The following is an edited transcript of the interview, conducted August 15, 2011. in Harvard International Review 16oct11 via @wonkmonk

‘Top 484 Influencers’ (twitter urls) via @wonkmonk

@wonkmonk - worth following - Stiglitz recommends we follow her - she provides numerous links of potential interest

Nobel Prize-winning Stiglitz is a very likeable amiable economist - in extreme contrast to the neolibs & neoclassicals

We mustn't forget Ann Pettifor (of Prime Economics) - who wrote a book predicting the 2007/8 crisis. I follow her on twitter. @AnnPettifor

Frances Coppola  - she is well worth following on twitter for her insightful analysis of data and critical questioning of ...   zzz I'm sleepy! need a break. She's also a singer, and lives in Kent.  e.g.

Danny Axford 
[keen tweeter on cycling – and economics! - maybe as a hobby?] @UnlearningEcon Politics = the compromise of unlimited wants and limited resources, Economics = theoretical routes to theoretical compromise -
PCES: Education, Economics and Unlearning - The Report. Relearning Economics - "The Post-Crash Economics Society (PCES) have produced a compelling analysis of the failings in economics education and set out a road map for reform":
Post-Crash Economics Society  
Rethinking Economics  Rethinking Economics
Economics undergraduates at the University of Manchester have formed thePost-Crash Economics Society, ...
In June a network of young economics students, thinkers and writers set up Rethinking Economics, a campaign group to challenge what they say is the predominant narrative in the subject. ....   from:
Economics students aim to tear up free-market syllabus 24oct13 Phillip Inman  Business   The Guardian & below is a good comment by Chrisk79:
I spoke with some of the Post Crash group at a Peoples Assembly meeting recently. It was an eye opener that Universities are teaching only the neo-liberal model as the core syllabus. This is not education but indoctrination. Fair play to the group then who were passionate about the need for change and realise that it is up to them to effect that change. Good luck to them, I hope that they are successful in re-claiming education as a means of furthering understanding through questioning prevailing orthodoxy.

Education, Economics and Unlearning - The Report. "Relearning Economics - The Post-Crash Economics Society (PCES) have produced a compelling analysis of the failings in economics education and set out a road map for reform":

Mark Carney 'Bank of England governor: capitalism doomed if ethics vanish' "Mark Carney issues strong critique of City behaviour and warns of growing sense that basic social contract is breaking down" Angela Monaghan, 28may14 Business   The Guardian

BANKING for poor people (especially in poor countries):
Google Grameen Bank ("The Grameen Bank is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning microfinance organization and community development bank founded in Bangladesh. It makes small loans to the impoverished without requiring collateral. Wikipedia") - thanks for that info Daphne.
Grameen Foundation.

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More of my thoughts on economics

Is economics a science?

My first thoughts on this - before reading what other people have to say on this - i.e. to find out what is 'widely thought':

Economics lies in the grey area whereby you have to first define what you mean by science or how strictly or broadly you are 'taking it'.
It is not a science in the strict sense of the word (i.e. "an exact science") in that it tries to understand something that is continually changing depending on the vagaries of mass human perception (and mass human confidence) - which is a volatile thing and not as easily predictable as some finance sector people have thought (the mathematical modellers) - and have been caught out due to this, when they've become over-self-confident with a conviction that only works in a past-to-present scenario. So you can't reliably predict a long way into the future as circumstances can suddenly change, or - perhaps more fittingly - the perception
of circumstances, triggered by an event that can be external or internal - that can burst a bubble. So economics must not forget the frequent irrationality of human beings - especially as it studies an area involving dependence on trust - yet involving people with a gambling instinct and/or 'greed-blinkered' or 'one-upmanship' propensities, and liable to being suddenly swayed by herd-instinct (following "bull" /....) (e.g. expression "bull markets" - may be apt , but bear markets? - maybe not so, as bears don't herd).

Economics thus has a human psychology aspect (fatally ignored by some of the pre-crash modelling of finance companies).
It is also linked to politics.

In relation to what economics is:  (see next section)

The teaching of economics: Since writing this text the following refreshing news has appeared:
'Economics students aim to tear up free-market syllabus' (24oct13 Phillip Inman, Guardian). I hope they succeed in ending the neoliberal capture of economics!   and:
'Economics lecturers accused of clinging to pre-crash fallacies' Phillip Inman Nov13 - Economics Correspondent - Business - The Guardian
'Teaching evidence-based economics' Michael Joffe of Imperial College - Royal Economic Society
'Orthodox economists have failed their own market test' Seumas Milne 20nov13 "Students are demanding alternatives to a free-market dogma with a disastrous record. That's something we all need" Comment is free The Guardian - via Gwen tweet. 

Economics-related quotations 

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
"The price of everything and the value of nothing" - was that Oscar Wilde?     whoever first said this - it fits well to the current market fundamentalism re trying to put a price on everything, commodification,
marketization, ...     Often the best things in life are free (until destroyed by those who don't appreciate them as they can't easily be priced).

Re paying for the increase in the deficit and national debt, created by reckless bankers, by making cuts to the poor. In the words of the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King: "The price of this financial crisis is being borne by people who absolutely did not cause it…..Now is the period when the cost is being paid, I'm surprised that the degree of public anger has not been greater than it has." - Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, in evidence to the UK Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee, March 2011. Although greedy bankers and incompetent regulators crashed the World economy we are told to go easy on them. Although we are told to forgive the bankers, the 1% (or <1%) of benefits going to skivers is an excuse to attack all benefits!

Economics-related jokes

I have made and heard "economics jokes": these are just words to remind me to write them down here when I get time - one re Keynes versus Friedman and where they end up, and another joke but ..... forgotten it...



"The mission of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks." More: Frances criticizes BIS 2013 report in 'Financial dislocation' - Frances Coppola 26jun13 Not to be confused with BIS - the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
NB: Most of us use BIS to refer to the UK Gov Department of Business.........Skills

FISCAL - FISCAL POLICY: "In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection (mainly taxes) and expenditure (spending) to influence the economy." - wikipedia.