NSER Celebration!

After over a year of work and months of planning, the 7th edition of the New School Economic Review (NSER) is ready to be launched! As the 10th anniversary of the NSER was in 2014 we have decided to have a large launch event this time around. This grand event will take place on  February 10th, 4-6pm at the Albert and Vera List Academic Center (the 6 East 16th Street building). Look here for event details.

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Another Response to the Kick It Over Campaign

Rishabh Kumar, our colleague and friend at The New School’s economics department has written a fascinating take on Adbusters’ Kick It Over campaign. You can read his full response here.

To me, the response is interesting in that it is titled “Why I disagree with the ‘Kick It Over’ Campaign” but goes in a completely different direction than previous critiques of the campaign. Below is a sample:

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No, The Problem Isn’t Mathematical Formalism

Much to my amusement, the Kick It Over campaign at the Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) put on by the American Economic Association (AEA) actually managed to ruffle some feathers. Although it hasn’t managed to capture the attention of the Twitterati (when will economics finally be cool?!), parts of the economics blogosphere are livid.

Those economists – primarily those leaning to the right of whatever the center of economics might be – are trying desperately to stake out a territory that presents them as open to critique, but dismissive of anything that might pass for substantive reevaluation of the discipline’s theoretical underpinnings.

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5 Annoying Things Economists Write During the Holidays

Call me a Grinch, but I can’t stand when economists get in the holiday spirit. Suffice it to say that the dismal science makes everything dismal with it. Like the exploitation of seasonal labor or the bell-ringing agents of a homophobic army of God, economists roll out the same tired tropes re-gifted from the ideologues of ruling class past.

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No Longer Up For Debate

Over at Joe Francis’ blog the independent scholar has compiled data from JStor demonstrating the death of direct debates within economics journals.

Graph of economics papers on JStor containing the words 'comment', 'rejoinder', or 'reply' from 1920-2013 with a distinct peak in the early 1970s

Although there has been a distinct decline in direct debate on papers since the Cambridge-Cambridge debates, I would argue that some of that debate has been relegated to working papers and blogs. For example, the recent debate around Modern Money Theory has happened almost exclusively in working papers from PERI and the Levy Institute as well as associated blogs.

What this data might indicate is not so much the death of debate with in the discipline so much as journals no longer being the primary venue for this debate.

10 Riots That Challenged Injustice and Changed US History

By Mike Isaacson, Ian, Oriol Vallès Codina, and Erjola Zotkaj

There has been a lot of word vomit on social media denouncing property destruction and looting that happened after the very public string of murders of black folks by police this year. Most comments have centered on the lack of productivity of riots in obtaining justice. For the most part, the argumentation goes something like “destroying your own community will do nothing to bring justice or positive change.” However, if history is any precedent, these arguments are entirely unjustified. The United States has a long history of riots bringing change that no amount of kumbaya hand-holding or “working within the system” was ever able to accomplish.

This list is by no means complete, so feel free to add to the list in the comments section below.

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Editor’s Picks – Black Friday Edition

Thanksgiving Shopping, Black Friday Debate Heats Up

Best Buy and a few other retailers have begun to dabble in advanced physics. This year, the Minnesota-based electronics corporation will be bending the laws of space-time to make Friday start at 5 pm on Thursday. Apparently, the full month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is such a short amount of time to buy crap, that the retail giant will further extend the length of the misdated Christian holiday to slowly eclipse the 225 year old American holiday. Perhaps next year, Christmas will extend the entire length of the Nazerite’s immaculate gestation.

Lazy Bargain Hunters Are Hiring People to Wait in Black Friday Lines

Apparently, Aaron MacGruder’s “professional lineman” is now an actual thing. In cities across the country, shoppers are paying folks upwards of $20 an hour to stand in line for them to get a good spot for Black Friday deals. That’s right, workers are being paid twice as much to wait for customers than to wait on customers.

Wal-Mart Workers Plan Black Friday Protests for Higher Pay

Apologies for the misleading headline. This Friday, thousands of workers in Wal-Mart stores across the country will be going in strike – that is, intentionally withholding their labor – for better pay, benefits, and working conditions at the parasitic retail giant. Chances are, there is a Black Friday strike happening near you. Check out the official Black Friday Protest page to join a strike in your area.

11 Economic Lessons to Make You a Smarter Shopper For Black Friday

Black Friday, the biggest “game” of the year among retailers and consumers. Here are some smart tricks for the shoppers to beat the retailers; however, one might wander for how long will this game last? My prediction is for a very long time until businesses will start adopting a different approach on what constitutes the value of a commodity such as measuring it by the average number of labor hours required to produce and service that commodity and realize that extending store operating hours and opening in Thanksgiving day make no longer sense. Conceivably this way retail workers would work normal hours and consumers would be able to have a joyous Holiday shopping experience, rather than being part of the shopping game.

Editor’s Picks

Senate Defeats Bill on Keystone XL Pipeline in Narrow Vote

Well, this happened! Despite promises to the contrary, Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu was not able to muster up enough votes to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act. Link is to the New York Times, but prize goes to the Washington Post for the headline calling it a YOLO Vote.

Harvard University targeted by affirmative action opponents. For them, it’s the big one.

Apparently, there are still people who want to go to Harvard, and they are willing to undo one of the cornerstones of civil rights to do so. The epically misnomered group the Project on Fair Representation has managed to find a client who insists that he was wrongfully denied admission to the pretentious prestigious institution on the basis of his not being denied on the basis of his race. The Project on Fair Representation is suing because, among other things, it appears to be entirely a front group for the American Enterprise Institute. The group’s last misadventure was a failed attempt to represent Abigail Fisher against the University of Texas (despite the fact that she got into and subsequently graduated from another University).

Why is the U.S. Economy Underperforming?

The Great Recession of 2008 began with the bursting of the housing market bubble that led to sharp cutbacks in consumer spending, specifically the sharp decline of consumption relative to spending of the bottom 95 percent. Evidently, the cause of this major decline in spending was the growing ratio of debt to income that disrupted consumer credit access. But the root cause that led to this disastrous path was the decrease of income growth rate of the bottom 95 percent while the top 5 percent enjoyed an increase in income growth rate. Like Thomas Piketty, economists Stephen M. Fazzari and Berry Z. Cynamon focus on income inequality to explain causes of the Great Recession and the incredible stagnation of U.S. economy ever since.

They Know It’s Christmas

This week Bob Geldof and other celebrities releasted a new Band Aid song in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the original “Do They Know It’s Christmas” from 1984. The original song was released to raise funds to counter the then ongoing famine in Ethiopia. The slightly-rewritten 2014 version is designed to raise funds for the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Despite criticism from a range of actors regarding the ignorance of Africa that the original song perpetuates, the lyrics of the new version are not much different. Laura Seay at The Washington Post points out that most Africans do know when Christmas is as there are many Christians on the continent, that the song is demeaning and mostly ignores Africans and their efforts to fight Ebola, and that we do not know where the money is going.

Editor’s Picks

Rusty Radiator is Back with “Who Wants to Be A Volunteer”

SAIH, the Norwegian Students and Academics International Assistance Fund, came last year with the first edition of the Rusty Radiator Award, which is granted for the worst stereotyping in development and poverty campaigns. It is a demand for a change in the way that fundraising campaigns are communicating issues of poverty and development. The promo video for the second edition, “Who Wants to Be A Volunteer” is a satirical take on the well-intentioned Westerners journey to distant places as volunteers with little regard for culture, history or the ethical challenges their presence brings into communities that aren’t their own.

Banks and Car Dealerships Are Using an Orwellian New Tactic on Debtors

Apparently, the lives of the working poor is not nearly miserable enough. To help them out, banks and car dealers are colluding to rig cars with remote kill switches in the event your auto loan goes into default. John Dyer over at Vice News has produced a riveting expose of the abominable practice.

A Heterodox Take on Inequality

By José Coronado and Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven

A few weeks ago, New School students met with fellow heterodox students in Amherst, Massachusetts for the annual graduate student workshop, a common space for collaboration and mutual exchange of ideas. Students presented in a wide array of fields, ranging from macro modeling to interest rate theory to the eigenvalues of input output tables to Marxian theory (see the full program). The event closed with a student/faculty roundtable titled “Economic Inequality – Challenges for the Economy, Society and Policy”. The debate touched a range of areas, among them the role of the state and methodological individualism.
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