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Teaching economics after the crash

Aditya Chakrabortty’s (of The Guardian) exploration of the concerns about the teaching of economics – on Radio 4 earlier this week, and repeated on Sunday – has interviews with many of the economists that ECON2548’s first topic area touched on, and offers a good overview of the concerns raised by student groups about how economics is currently taught in most institutions.

Listen here

Posted in economics.

IPCC 5th Assessment Report

Published today, the IPCC’s AR5 shows us a future in which climate change forms a “a threat to security, food and humankind” (Goldenberg, 2014). The recognition that the impact of climate change is already being felt, and will, in all likelihood, worsen in coming years should be an impetus to substantial change. However, pessimistically, one might suspect that little will change in terms of government policy.

What will it take to force the necessary changes in resource and energy consumption and emissions? Acknowledgement that climate change is real and happening now is perhaps the first step, but the policy follow-through and the lifestyle changes that we must make are likely to be less forthcoming. I came across The Guardian’s neat ‘how hot will it get in my lifetime’ interactive on their website – and it’s eye-opening as it places the pace of change into your own timeline. This is my climate life:


Posted in climate change, environment.

Post-crash economics

I was heartened by a piece in the Guardian a week or two ago – Economics students aim to tear up free-market syllabus – not least because it is reflective of my own second year economics module (which will be retitled New Directions in Economics for 2014/15). Whilst student revolt at orthodox economics is not new (it can be, for instance, traced back to around 2000 with French and then Cambridge students), its reoccurrence is healthy for the discipline.

The spokesperson for Manchester quoted in the article as saying “economics teaching at Manchester “focuses on mainstream approaches, reflecting the current state of the discipline”” is missing the point – that economics is not just the orthodoxy and ignoring the new directions consequently does not ‘reflect the current state of the discipline’.

In s similar vein, I was recently sent an inspection copy of a new economics textbook by a publisher (it shall remain anonymous) and I was pretty appalled by the complete lack of recognition of any of the areas of economics I feel to be interesting and relevant. So, nothing on behavioural economics, nothing on ethics and economics, nothing on network economics and IP, nothing on ecological economics… and so on. Economics tends to be in denial about the necessity for change, and it will take quite a lot to make that happen – but the post-crash economics society is good prompt.

Posted in economics.