Video: Launch of NSER Vol. 8 & Discussion on Money, Power and Capitalism

On March 1st 2016 The New School Economic Review celebrated the launch of its 8 volume with talks by Professors Ramaa Vasudevan (Colorado State University) and Paulo dos Santos (The New School) on ‘Money, Power, and Capitalism’. See the video of the event below.

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What’s Wrong with Heterodox Economics?

A couple of days ago I was exposed to a piece by Randall Wray discussing some remarkable findings presented in a paper by Leonhard Dobusch and Jakob Kapeller. The paper discusses citation practices and their relationship with the performance of economic journals. Wray’s comments are centered on the following four points made in the article:

  1. Cross-citation between heterodox journals and orthodox journals is largely biased towards the latter. This is due to orthodox journals constantly citing other orthodox journals and heterodox journals mainly citing orthodox journals.
  2. These biased cross-citation practices create perverse incentives. Researchers that want to get tenure send their best work to the highly ranked orthodox journals.
  3. A number of top heterodox journals are biased towards formal and econometric-based research. These articles are more likely to cite orthodox journals.
  4. Heterodox journals restrict the availability of their papers pre and post-publication.

In this piece I want to make some comments regarding the first three points.

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Dispatches from ASSA: Part IV

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The problem of the term “heterodox” manifests itself occasionally on panel discussions. Its ambiguity can lead to a gulf of subject matter, the depths of which can not be adequately plumbed in a standard follow-up discussion. The label of “heterodox” is used to describe everyone from Marxians, Sraffians, Austrians, Keynesians, Kaleckians and whatever remains in between. My last day at ASSA would best be described as heterodox.

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Dispatches from ASSA: Part II

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If you don’t know Scott Carter, he’s a man worth knowing. He is unlike most economists in that he actually appears human when talking about economic issues. While most economists are usually very congenial and calm during an ASSA session, Carter’s wild gesticulations and earnest roars match the grave urgency of the subjects he’s discussing. I was lucky enough to share a panel with Scott yesterday morning and see him again in a session on Sraffian economics later in the afternoon.

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Dispatches from ASSA: Part I

I was fortunate enough to have the self-awareness to plan to arrive in San Francisco a day before the conference. This meant foregoing any plans for New Year’s Eve. My airline, however, was insistent that I go to the club – even if the dance floor was occupied by rows of seating. Flying Virgin Air was by far the most bizarre experience I have ever had on an airplane. To understand what I mean, I recorded a video (below) of the in flight announcements.

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Polanyi and Mattei’s “Market Fundamentalism and Fascist Politics in Europe”

In this blog post I would like to address the presentation on “Market Fundamentalism and Fascist Politics in Europe”, delivered by Clara Mattei (NSSR Visiting Scholar and PhD Candidate, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa) at the Economics Department Seminar of the past October 20, in conversation with some thoughts after the talk “Polanyi’s Vision of a Socialist Transformation” by Karl Polanyi’s daughter, Kari Polanyi-Levitt, and Nancy Fraser.

Clara Mattei’s work follows perfectly from Polanyi’s well-known dictum, “laissez-faire was planned – planning was not”, which underlies his 1942 masterpiece The Great Transformation, a seminal book of economic history that practically founded the entire discipline of economic anthropology. In that work, Polanyi set a historical puzzle for neoclassical economists: “Why did a prolonged period of relative peace and prosperity in Europe, lasting from 1815 to 1914, suddenly give way to a world war followed by an economic collapse?”. Polanyi argued persuasively against the 19th-century ideology of market liberalism, founded on the utopian belief that human society should exclusively be subordinated to the laissez-faire forces of the self-regulating free market: he noted, by comparing the eroding effects of laissez-faire capitalism on the European social fabric both in the Great Depression and during the 19th century, that the relentless expansion of the free market would always inevitably unleash destructive forces upon the bare fabric of society in a way that society would inevitably respond back in order to protect itself, either in the form of fascism (Mussolini, Hitler, Franco) or socialism (Stalin). This constitutes the core Polanyian argument of the “double movement”.

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Free Capital as Anti-Democracy

That deterministic herald of creative destruction, globalization, was held in check by political barriers, namely capital controls, for the better part of the twentieth century.  Incidentally, this age of capital controls aligned more or less exactly with the age of shared growth we now call the Golden Age of Capitalism.  (an aside: it’s a sad irony of history that much of what is remembered as the achievements of capitalism are actually the achievements of not-capitalism).

But now this mainstay of globalization has resumed its inexorable march, except in India and China and a few other countries that have managed to rapidly develop, and capital controls have mostly given way to unrestricted short-term capital flows.  And just as political conditions once allowed for control of capital, now capital controls political conditions.

Take the following story:

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