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Archive for 'history of economic thought'

Mike McCracken: Winner of the 2012 Galbraith Prize in Economics

The Progressive Economics Forum (PEF) is proud to announce that Mike McCracken, Chair and CEO of Informetrica Ltd. in Ottawa, has won the 3rd biennial Galbraith Prize for a lifetime contribution to economics and social justice in Canada. Congratulations, Mike! Mike co-founded Informetrica in 1972, after working at the Economic Council of Canada, where he […]

Call for Nominations: 2012 Galbraith Prize in Economics

In June 2012, the PEF will be awarding the third John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics. Nominations are now open to all PEF members in good standing (if you are a lapsed member or want to join for the first time, click here), and the window for nominations will stay open until January 31, 2012. […]

On Economics, We-Think, and the Twitterverse

It took me a long time to write my first blog. It was here, and it was in response to the global economic collapse as it was occurring in real time, in late September 2008. For economists, the blogosphere is a rapid response world, and speed can kill. I worried about getting caught undone in […]

Can cooperatives humanize our economy?

Book Review of Humanizing the Economy: Cooperatives in the Age of Capital, by John Restakis, New Society Publishers, 2010. The economy is about business, right? Sure, we have a dynamic mixed economy, and most people support decent social programs and government intervention to protect the environment or to improve living conditions for the poorest. In […]

A hip hop version of the Keynes vs Hayek debate

Here’s a new take on bringing economic theory to the masses — a rap battle between Keynes and Hayek. What’s amazing about it is the amount of solid (if not plain nerdy) content this video packs into such a short time. It’s fun to watch for sure (very high production values), but you get that […]

Remembering My Gordon

Prof.  Myron Gordon was an economist, a long-time member of faculty at the Rotman School of business at the U of T, and a founding member of the Progressive Economics Forum.  Sadly he passed away in Toronto on July 5 of this year. My Gordon was very influential with me, and I know with many other independent-minded […]

Risk, Uncertainty, and Black Swans

In 2009, in the midst of the financial and economic crises, Robert Skidelsky, the acclaimed three volume biographer of Keynes, added a fourth, Keynes: The Return of the Master. It is a radical and provocative assessment of economic theory since Keynes, insisting that at its core Keynes’ s Keynesianism was about uncertainty, about the irreducible […]

Great Minds Think Alike

Serge Coulombe, an economics professor at the University of Ottawa, has a great op-ed in today’s Financial Post: The Fraser report looks at the change in the contribution of government expenditures to the GDP growth between the second and the third quarters, and the third and the fourth quarters, of 2009. This approach is problematic […]

How Markets Fail

If you want to be reminded of the myriad of ways in which markets fail, you will welcome the new and timely book by John Cassidy titled simply How Markets Fail. Cassidy is not only an economist but a rare one who can write. Indeed, he writes so well that he is a regular contributor […]

Do Economists Have a Country?

We do, but many of us, particularly of  the orthodox persuasion, do our best to hide it in our work. Where we live is “content” but the models we use, we insist, are universal. But that begs the question of where the models, which do not fall from the sky, come from. The answer is […]

Paul A. Samuelson 1915-2009

Paul Samuelson was the greatest economic theorist of the 20th century. If we see Leon Walras, with his general equilibrium theory, as the Newton of economics – which I think Samuelson did – then Samuelson was its Einstein. In his Foundations of Economic Analysis in 1947, he laid out the fundamental mathematics that underlay the […]

Neoclassical economics fighting back from “the Ropes”?

In 2003 the the heterodox economics faculty at Notre Dame University were removed from the Economics Department. Now I gather their new home, The Department of Economics and Policy Studies, will be eliminated as well.  The story can be found in The Chronicle of Higher Education An interesting analysis appeared today in the Chronicle titled […]

Davidson: Efficient Market Theory Vs. Keynes’s Liquidity Theory

Paul Davidson gave a great talk to the Progressive Economics Forum at the recent Canadian Economics Association meetings. Below is a teaser; the full talk is here. ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS OF THE OPERATION OF A CAPITALIST ECONOMY: EFFICIENT MARKET THEORY VS. KEYNES’S LIQUIDITY THEORY by Paul Davidson, Editor, Journal of Post Keynesian Economics Politicians and talking […]

The Future of Capitalism

Some weekend reading: Amartya Sen, that other voice of sanity among recent Nobel laureates in economics, draws lines between the current economic crisis and the history of economic thought (with an emphasis on Smith, Keynes and Pigou), and what that all means for a “new capitalism”. Then, over at the Financial Times, a whole series […]

Fresh water and salt water macroeconomics

Angry Bear has an excellent synopsis of the state of macroeconomics, and its relationship to the central monetary and fiscal policy debates of today. The post plays on a division of US economists into right-wing “fresh water” economists (epitomized by Chicago) and left-wing “salt water” (Princeton, MIT, Berkeley) that is perhaps a bit simplified (for […]

Cutting to Zero

The Bank of Canada should announce a target interest rate of 0% on Tuesday. This move would match the action taken by the US Federal Reserve a month ago. Recent experience suggests that the chartered banks would not pass along the entire cut. But such a dramatic announcement by the Bank of Canada would place strong pressure on […]

Confessions of a Newspaper Economist

Declan picks up on Stephen’s suggestion that economists were too diffident to raise concerns about the real estate bubble: How to square the group of economists in the front pages of the paper offering a series of right wing prescriptions supported by neither fact nor theory with the economist unwilling to point out a housing […]

The Battle for History: Robson on the Great Depression

William Robson, President of the C. D. Howe Institute, mounted a rear-guard defence of the conventional wisdom against Keynesian fiscal policy in yesterday’s Globe and Mail. He argues that we should leave the economy to central bankers and monetary policy instead of calling on governments to use fiscal policy. There are at least four problems […]

Life After the Economic Crisis

Much has been written on this blog about immediate responses to the crisis. We have analyzed proposed measures in depth and advocated for bold novel solutions. But it seems to me that we haven’t spent much time looking forward a little past the here and now. Last week, I was contacted by a Montreal-based journalist, […]

The Affluent Society

Since Galbraith has appeared in two recent posts, a timely salvo came to me from Christopher Nowlin: I happen to think that Galbraith’s 1958 classic, The Affluent Society, speaks more loudly to today’s social, economic, political and environmental troubles in North America than it did to post WWII America’s.  I even gave a public talk to this […]

Stock Markets vs. The Real Economy

In Saturday’s Globe and Mail, Brian Milner summarized Vitaliy Katsenelson’s historical analysis of American stock markets. He distinguishes “bull markets” from “range-bound markets”: . . . growth patterns may be similar. What separates the two are stock valuations, which soar to such unrealistic heights during raging bull periods that it takes years for them to […]

Palley on the Neoclassical Monopoly in Economics

Thomas Palley has posted a good discussion of the relationship between economic theory and policy, which includes a useful taxonomy of contemporary economists.

Adam Smith did not wear an Adam Smith tie

A theme I’ve posted on many times before but perhaps worth repeating once again, thanks to this post: How Laissez Faire was Adam Smith?Greg Whiteside writes in The Condo Metropolis Blog (7 December) here: “ADAM SMITH MUST BE ROLLING OVER IN HIS GRAVE RIGHT NOW” “Arguably the father of modern economics, Adam Smith was a […]

PEF in The Globe and Mail

Several of us regularly provide media commentary through our jobs at the CCPA, CAW and CLC. Once in a while, reporters quote statements posted on this blog in that capacity. However, the Progressive Economics Forum itself rarely receives media coverage. The excerpts below are from page L4 of today’s Globe and Mail. This story drew upon my “Levitt’s […]

Levitt’s Been Thunderstruck: Is Economics on the Highway to Hell?

A couple of months ago, Robert Oxoby of the University of Calgary posted a joke paper comparing AC/DC’s original lead signer, Bon Scott, with his successor, Brian Johnson. The paper presented the results of an experiment in which test subjects responded less “rationally” to financial incentives in an “ultimatum game” when listening to Scott’s “It’s […]

A Minskian analysis of US economy and financial markets

Nouriel Roubini invokes the great, but relatively unknown, Post-Keynesian economist, Hyman Minsky, in his latest dispatch about the state of US financial markets and economy. Minsky made the point that finance and financial markets matter, and in fact can have disastrous consequences for the real economy if left unchecked, and therefore institutions like prudent regulation […]

The Inaugural John Kenneth Galbraith Lecture

At this year’s Canadian Economics Association meetings, the Progressive Economics Forum was thrilled to have James Galbraith come to inaugurate the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize and Lecture, to be given biannually, with the first Prize awarded next year at the CEA meetings in Vancouver, which will also be the tenth anniversary of the PEF. Here […]

Economists weigh in on “hip heterodoxy”

A torrent of discussion in response to Hip Heterodoxy (blogged here) has come up at TPM cafe. The full discussion page, which includes posts by Paul Krugman, Mark Thoma, Max Sawicky and others, can be viewed here. For RPE, I will stick to the self-interest of the PEF, and include only James Galbraith, who is […]

The Nation: Heterodox economics peeks through the cracks

A week before the Canadian Economics Association meeting, the article in the Nation looks at the plight of heterodox economics south of the border. There are a lot of parallels to Canada, but some differences, too. At the CEA meetings, Progressive Economics Forum sessions have generally been very well attended (we’ll see how this year […]

Galbraith on Galbraith and the new industrial state

Perhaps telegraphing some of his coming remarks in Halifax when he joins the Progressive Economics Forum for the inauguration of the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics, James Galbraith reflects on his father’s The New Industrial State. If you find yourself in Halifax on June 3, noon, please join us at Dalhousie’s McCain Building, Room […]