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   As I tell my students, nothing gets a mainstream economist frothing at the mouth quite like mentioning Karl Polanyi. Or at least it used to, when mainstream economists actually knew who Polanyi was and grasped—however dismissively—what he wrote about the history of capitalism. To his credit, Eric Hilt (pdf) appears to know something about […]

Narrative economics

Posted: 10 January 2017 in Uncategorized

Mainstream economists, it seems, have finally discovered the role of narrative in economics. But their work ignores previous research on the topic—and fails to identify the narratives at work in other areas, including academic economic theory itself. The current head of the American Economic Association, Robert J. Shiller, delivered “Narrative Economics” as his presidential address at the […]

Themes of 2016

Posted: 6 January 2017 in Uncategorized

Looking back over the past year, here are the ten major themes I found in my blog posts: inequality critique of mainstream economics the U.S. presidential election, especially Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump class and surplus epistemology, especially uncertainty utopia working-class corporations and capital academy critique of liberalism We’ll see what happens in the current year. . […]

Class issues became central to the 2016 presidential campaign in ways that I can’t recall for any other election in my lifetime. And even now, during the post-election debate, the references to class remain widespread. It’s not that the discussion of class in relation to the election has been particularly interesting or revealing. Americans, especially political pundits, still […]

Has the policy consensus on economics fundamentally changed in recent years? To read Mike Konczal it has. I can’t say I’m convinced. While some of the details may have changed, I still think we’re talking about different—liberal and conservative—versions of the same old trickledown economics. But first Konczal’s argument. He begins with a pretty good […]

The other day, I argued (as I have many times over the years) that contemporary mainstream macroeconomics is in a sorry state. Mainstream macroeconomists didn’t predict the crash. They didn’t even include the possibility of such a crash within their theory or models. And they certainly didn’t know what to do once the crash occurred. […]

I have argued many times over the years that mainstream economists, especially mainstream macroeconomists, largely ignore the issue of inequality. And when they do see it, they tend to misunderstand both its causes (often attributing it to exogenous events, such as globalization and technical change) and its consequences (often failing to connect it, other than through […]

As I have argued many times on this blog, representations of the economy are produced and disseminated in many different spaces (in addition to academic economics departments) and through many different media (in addition to the usual, mostly mainstream economics textbooks). One example of this proliferation of economic representations is children’s literature. Children are the […]

Mainstream economics has clearly had a great fall. Just two days ago, I argued that—after the crash of 2007-08 and, now, Brexit—mainstream economists have had “nothing to offer, either in terms of insight or a path moving forward.” Also recently, Antonio Callari challenged Brad DeLong’s attempt to reduce economics to the mainstream debate between supply-siders and demand-siders […]

No matter how many stories I tell them about thought control in economics, students and colleagues in other disciplines simply don’t believe me. They don’t understand the restrictions on the professors who are hired in many economics departments, the narrow range of methods and perspectives published in the leading economics journals, the limits on economics research projects […]