Learn Your ABC of Economics

Surely, since the financial crisis of 2008 the theories of neoliberalism should be dead in the water. Nevertheless, after 40 years of the neoliberal global free market approach, the acolytes of these schools are in the majority in almost every economic institution and many politicians remain under their spell.

The EU Commission is a sad example of this. It is still using every opportunity to try to force its member states to privatize their assets, for example the railways and the water supply. The latter has currently been brought to a temporary halt by the people’s Right2Water movement. If you look at the sad outcomes of privatization for the railways and the water industry in the UK you can only despair at the EU’s inability to learn. Today over 70% of UK citizens want a renationalization of the railways. The EU on the contrary ".....introduces mandatory tendering for public service contracts in rail" from 2019 on.

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/rail/packages/2013_en

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/09/even-the-tories-should-admit-that-its-time-to-renationalise-the-water-companies/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/may/08/water-industry-pipes-scandal

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/einkommensverteilung-deutschland-ist-so-ungleich-wie-vor-jahren-1.3791457

 

 

The impact of economics on our lives and the planet is far too important to be left to the so-called experts.

Everybody who is interested in the future should therefore get some basic economic knowledge under their belt. Otherwise they will be easily fooled by politicians, experts of certain economic schools, ideology and toxic theories. Here are some important economic questions for you to consider:

  • Is constant growth necessary and inevitable...
    ...or is constant growth a crazy approach in view of the planet’s limited resources?
  • Can the economy be predicted by mathematical models...
    ...or is the economy driven by fortune-telling and mass psychology? 
  • Are laws of nature at work within the economy and is the good economist a pure observer of these laws without any responsibility...
    ...or is the economy created by humans and we can choose to change the economy to one that leads to less suffering?
  • Are government bureaucrats always less capable of meaningful market interventions than businesspeople who follow their self-interest...
    ...or are the government’s market interventions inevitable because, in contrast to the exchange of nuts and berries, modern markets only exist within the legal frameworks created by governments? 
  • Are meaningful market interventions impossible because nobody understands the market...
    ...or are the government’s market interventions necessary to ensure the benefit of all its citizens?
  • Is rising inequality a good thing and a positive result of the ideal market?
  • Is our current global economy a doomsday machine?
  • Is it the road to a bright future for all?

 


If you read only one book on economics 
it should be this one:

The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has promised an “…. open online course and public podcast series to allow any citizen to inform themselves and to engage with the economic debate.” (Economics for everyone, Prospectus for the Citizens’ Economic Council, page 25)

» www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/economics-for-everyone.pdf

Here are some reading recommendations across the political spectrum:

Ha-Joon Chang: Economics: The User’s Guide;
Pelican Books, published by Penguin Group, London, 2014
» www.penguin.co.uk/books/187172/economics-the-user-s-guide

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Winner of the Nobel Prize: The Euro and its Threat to the Future of Europe; Allen Lane, imprint of Penguin Books, London, 2016
» www.penguin.co.uk/books/294714/the-euro

Yanis Varoufakis: The Global Minotaur; America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy; Zed Books, London, 2015
» www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/the-global-minotaur

Yanis Varoufakis: And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Vintage, part of the Penguin Random House Group, London, 2017
» www.penguin.co.uk/books/1111278/and-the-weak-suffer-what-they-must

 

 

Niko Paech: Befreiung vom Überfluss. Auf dem Weg in die Postwachstumsökonomie, oekom 2016;
» https://www.oekom.de/nc/buecher/gesamtprogramm/buch/befreiung-vom-ueberfluss.html

Wolfgang Streeck: Buying Time - The Postponed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism, Verso, 2014; 
» www.versobooks.com/books/2390-buying-time

Wolfgang Streeck: Gekaufte Zeit – Die vertagte Krise des demokratischen Kapitalismus, Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2013, 2015
» www.suhrkamp.de/buecher/gekaufte_zeit-wolfgang_streeck_29733.html

F. A. Hayek: The Road to Serfdom, The University of Chicago Press, Routledge, London, 2007
» www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago

Hans-Werner Sinn: Der schwarze Juni, Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau, 2016; 
» www.herder.de/leben-shop/der-schwarze-juni-ebook-(epub)


A list of different schools of economics:
  • Developmental Economics
  • Classical School
  • Neoclassical School
  • Austrian School
  • Marxist School
  • (Neo)-Schumpeterian School
  • Keynesian School
  • Institutionalist School
  • Behaviouralist School
  • Doughnut Economics