Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The London Economic — Re-thinking Economics Teaching

“Economics teaching has failed to convey the exciting progress made in many fields in economics over recent decades in addressing the big questions about the economy,” Professor Antonio Cabrales of the University College London said in the run up to the launch of a new curriculum in economics at the university. “We are hoping to change that.”

From October 1st London will become part of a worldwide beta test of The Economy, a new online introduction to the field, which will – the course materials say – teach economics ‘as if the last 30 years had happened’. The course is also being piloted at Columbia University, Central European University and University of Sydney along with a number of other institutions world-wide and will look to educate a contemporary crop of economists with a fresh perspective on the global economy.

“Economists in universities and central banks were found wanting when the financial crisis hit,” Carlin said. “Students from Manchester to Santiago Chile demanded courses that helped them understand and engage with the big questions they faced – not only financial crisis, but rising inequality and environmental degradation.”

The course is based on an ebook – the beta version of which is now available to anyone for free online at www.core-econ.org – and combines text with pop-up questions to track learning and spark discussion as well as videos of Economists in Action. Students can click on an Einstein pop-up for help with difficult concepts. Models and data come to life with interactive diagrams. Though the project has not been advertised and is barely launched it already has almost 4,000 registered users.

The London Economic
Re-thinking Economics Teaching


Roger Erickson said...

It'll never help to rethink orthodox economics ... without rethinking Aristocracy as a pre-requisite. The two are inseparable.

Tom Hickey said...

Economic liberalism is really Burkean conservatism ("some are better than others" in the garb of meritocracy). After the replacement of feudalism with capitalism and the decline of the old order based on land rent addressed by Ricardo, it was the capitalists' answer to democracy, which under economic liberalism results in oligarchic democracy (Marx).

Neoclassical economics was a reaction to Marx and Henry George, both of whom exposed rent as the basis of capitalism, which combined capital and land into capital. This is the basis of neoliberalism as a political theory combining capitalism and democracy in which oligarchs rule instead of aristocrats.

It is also the basis of neoconservatism's push for expansion of democracy globally as a foundation of US foreign policy. It's built on the model of the British Empire, the American Empire replaced, although bringing the British oligarchs along as junior partners.

Roger Erickson said...

"rent as the basis of capitalism" ?

That's nothing more than crossroads as the robbers target.

Aren't humans supposed to be smarter than their self-parasites?

Tom Hickey said...

According to the neoclassical model that assumes free markets, perfect competition, symmetrical information and power, the rate of profit approximates the interest rate as cost of capital. Anything above that is the result of "friction," which amounts to economic rent such as imperfect competition, asymmetrical information, asymmetrical power. Neoclassical economics holds that these frictions are the result of government intrusion.

This overlooks the institutional nature of society and the economy. It's impossible to have markets without an institutional structure — laws, courts, enforcement, etc. at minimum.

Neoliberalism aims at only institutional effects that favor "the meritorious" and these effects allow then to collect rents and call then profits.

It's a scam.

Roger Erickson said...
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Roger Erickson said...
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James said...

Tom, While on the subject of Marx. I recently found this collection of articles by Marx, and Engels, written for newspapers like the New York tribune in the 1850s. I don't know if you've read these before, but they're quite interesting. For the ones that don't have a direct link you can C&P the title and put it in google search, they're usually there. The first one on the elections in England, gave quite a good description of economic ideologies, some sounding very neo-liberal.


The follow on from that article, is about the Chartists, and is worth a read if only for the speech given by Ernest Jones, it was excellent.


Roger Erickson said...

I don't know how we can resolve all the discrepancies between economics and all the real sciences ... without simply throwing out current macro-economics and replacing it with postulates that fit experimental outcomes. That's what "science" does all the time.

Orthodox economics, on the other hand, is fixated on preservation vs evolution of the prior model. That approach is dead in the water, like our ex Middle Class.

Roger Erickson said...

Re the Marx articles, thanks James.

Marx was a smart guy.

Too bad he never studied biology. Leaves him just one brick short of a systems-theory perspective.

The rest of our current public? :( It's pathetic that this country is keeping it's citizens so ignorant.

Tom Hickey said...

Thanks, James, I'll take a look. I did read Marx and Engels correspondence on America some time ago. Very interesting.