Escape Economics Review

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PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS reviews my book in Escape from Economics. Hudson is totally outside the matrix in which economists imprison themselves. Hudson doesn’t live in the artificial reality of economists or shill for corporations and Wall Street. A person can learn a lot from Hudson. His book, Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (2009) explains how foreign trade and economic development have been used to concentrate economic power in the hands of dominant nations. What is really going on is covered up with do-good verbiage and formal models. In reality, trade and development are ways to colonize countries that think they are independent. (Another good book on this subject is Michel Chossudovsky’s The Globalization of Poverty.) Perhaps the best place to begin with Hudson is his latest book, The Bubble and ...

Krugman's attack on my review of Samuelson

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I have recently republished my lecture notes on the history of theories of Trade, Development and Foreign Debt {2}. In this book I provide the basis for refuting Samuelson's factor-price equalization theorem, IMF-World Bank austerity programs, and the purchasing-parity theory of exchange rates. These ideas were lapses back from earlier analysis, whose pedigree I trace. In view of their regressive character, I think that the question that needs to be asked is how the discipline was untracked and trivialized from its classical flowering? How did it become marginalized, taking for granted the social structures and dynamics that should be the substance and focal point of its analysis? As John Williams quipped already in 1929 about the practical usefulness of international trade theory, I have often felt like the man who stammered ...

The Lost Science of Classical Political Economy

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neweconomicperspectives There is a seeming riddle in the recent evolution of economic thought. It has become more otherworldly and abstract, more detached from the reality of how economies are running deeper into debt to a financial oligarchy. The global economy itself is polarizing between creditor and debtor nations, financial core and periphery (even as the United States manages to play both sides of this street). Yet academic orthodoxy treats this as anomalous, side-stepping the two key features of today's economic crisis: the "magic of compound interest" multiplying debts owed by the bottom 90 percent of the population to savers among the top 10 percent, while industrial capitalism is turned into a "tollbooth economy" by privatizing rent-extracting privileges on what used to be the public domain. Academic rationalizers of today's economic policy use ...

The Chicago School's long descent

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Asia Times As a graduate of the University of Chicago (1959) and also of its Laboratory School (1955-56), I think my experience there confirms the picture portrayed by Henry Liu in his wonderful essay last week on Milton Friedman and the "Money Matters Controversy". (See Friedman's misplaced monument, Sep 5.) My introduction to the University of Chicago (UC) was via the Manhattan Project around 1948. I lived in Chicago neighborhood of Kenwood, just north of Hyde Park. We rented the top floor of our house to a physicist, Shuki Hayashi, who worked on the project at Stagg Field, under whose bleachers the project's atomic pile still continued. To bring me to the Lab School, he would put me on his bike (a Raleigh DL-1 28-incher) and drive me up to the field. ...

The Use and Abuse of Mathematical Economics

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* I thank Hans Maks and Peter Senn for their helpful suggestions that I have incorporated into this paper. – “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” (Hamlet, Act I, scene v) Content Mathematical economics as tunnel vision The semantics of mathematical equilibrium theory The subjectivity of statistical categories Problems, dilemmas and quandaries Mathematical economics as a distraction from economic reality The hypothetical “parallel universe” approach to economics Economics vs. the Natural Sciences: The methodology of “as if" Mathematizing the economy’s monetary and financial dimension BIBLIOGRAPHY “Whoever enters here must know mathematics.” That was the motto of Plato’s Academy. Emphasizing the Pythagorean proportions of musical temperament and the calendrical regularities of the sun, moon and planets, classical philosophy used these key ratios of nature as an analogue for shaping order in society’s basic ...

Theories of Economic Obsolescence, Revisited

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This paper reviews some early technological theories of competitiveness and (what often is left out of account) the obverse side of the coin: economic obsolescence. The implications of technological change, industrial head starts and the causes of economic backwardness were analyzed above all by American economists in the mid-19th century who no longer are well remembered today: Calvin Colton, Henry Carey and E. Peshine Smith. These writers were associated with Whig (and, after 1853, Republican) politicians in shaping the industrial policies that transformed the United States from a raw-materials producing ("Southern") economy into the world's major industrial power as a "Northern" economy. Members of the American School typically are dismissed (if they are discussed at all) as protectionists. A more accurate name for them would be technology theorists, futurists or prototypical ...

Does Economics Deserve a Nobel Prize? (And. by the way, does Samuelson deserve one?)

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In Commonweal, Vol. 93 (Dec. 18, 1970) pp. 296-98 It is bad enough that the field of psychology has for so long been a non-social science, viewing the motive forces of personality as deriving from internal psychic experiences rather than from man's interaction with his social setting. Similarly in the field of economics: since its “utilitarian” revolution about a century ago, this discipline has also abandoned its analysis of the objective world and its political, economic productive relations in favor of more introverted, utilitarian and welfare-oriented norms. Moral speculations concerning mathematical psychics have come to displace the once-social science of political economy. To a large extent the discipline’s revolt against British classical political economy was a reaction against Marxism, which represented the logical culmination of clas¬sical Ricardian economics and its paramount emphasis ...