imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

For a Different Economics

by Jacob Hafele and Benedict Weihmayr Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 at 5:00 AM
marc1seed@yahoo.com

Economists are criticized everywhere for their onesidedness, their focus on markets and their inability to deal with the burning problems... From neoclassical assumptions "more is better" or markets lead to efficient distribution, a perspective on the world results that sets efficiency over justice

FOR A FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT ECONOMICS



By Jakob Hafele



Business as usual or the status quo is impossible in economics. The problems of humanity demand solutions, not ideology



[This article published on November 13, 2014 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.capital.de. Discussion on the state of economics enters the next round. The German Plural Economics network decries the “one-sidedness of theory.”]



A state of emergency prevails in economics. Professors are divided on the basics. Students protest and partly organize their lectures themselves. A discussion breaks out around economic truth and academic honesty. In this discussion, Axel Dreher, professor at the University of Heidelberg, defends the status quo of economics. Criticism is outdated. There has long been variety. We thank you Professor Dreher for entering this long overdue discussion.



Economists are criticized everywhere for their one-sidedness, their focus on markets and their inability to deal with the burning problems of our time. Youth unemployment in Spain recently reached a new all-time high at 44 percent. Environmental problems are becoming ecological catastrophes. More and more people are malnourished and starving worldwide. At the same time an enormous wealth is accumulating while the unequal distribution soars. The recommendations of economists seem irrelevant. This is not a situation where economists should say: “All is good; let us simply continue as in the past.”



ECONOMICS IS ONE-SIDED



The state of economics is very alarming – marked by a shocking one-sidedness that is hardly recognized. So-called neoclassicism that could be described as today’s mainstream economics dominates research and teaching. Only the themes of this school and its deductions are regarded as economic foundations while other approaches are marginalized. The alleged variety mentioned by Professor Dreher only exists within this neoclassical system of thought. Different themes are investigated with the same assumptions and methods. That is not diversity.



This one-sidedness is very explosive since it is not academically neutral as often claimed. Normative assumptions about the world underlie every economic school including neoclassicism. “More is better” or the assumption that markets on principle lead to an efficient distribution are only two examples. From these assumptions, a perspective on the world results that sets efficiency above justice and maximization of material prosperity above protection of the environment.



Not only have the assumptions prevented neutrality. The decisions which questions are investigated and what instruments are used are normative. Thus mainstream economics is not a value-neutral instrument for analyzing the real economy. On the contrary, it is loaded with ideology through the one-sided choice of the assumptions, methods and investigated subjects.



THE WORLD IS TOO COMPLEX FOR ONLY ONE PERSPECTIVE



The continuing complaints from the real economy on the inadequate training of economists show clearly how little students of economics learn about the economy.



Human interaction is very complex. From other sciences, we could learn no theory about human conduct is always and absolutely true. A situation can often only be explained from many different perspectives. Some perspectives are very good at explaining certain aspects. Other theories explain other aspects better.



Neoclassicism asks how scarce goods can be distributed as efficiently as possible and therefore has its legitimate existence in economics. On the other hand, ecological economics sets the preservation of our foundations of life as a goal above efficiency; post-Keynesian economics sees low wages as a central problem and money as a powerful factor in economic cycles. There is more sense for power relations in the political-economic system. We need many perspectives to do justice to the complex world. This is also true for economics.



NOT FORGETTING THE REAL PROBLEMS OF HUMANITY



People are involved and not only knowledge and scientific logic! Economists are occupied with the development and distribution of resources. For a long while, all people on the planet have not been supplied with the vital necessities. The Euro crisis made thousands in Europe homeless and the resource-hungry economies of our time strain our environment at the expense of future generations. Mr. Dreher’s description of an economics in a good condition contrasts with a world economy that cannot solve the enormous problems and must force economists to find solutions for these problems. However they lean back satisfied on their neoclassical easy chairs instead of seeking new answers to these vexing challenges with the intellectual riches of all the economic theories and methods.



We demand plurality to dissolve this narrowed and one-sided perspective of economics, a plurality that sees the economy from different perspectives with fundamentally different assumptions and themes.



Students bringing projects into the curriculum is not enough. Universities must be a driving force of change. The foundation must be renewed in the current state of economics! Students filling a gap cannot be the solution.



ECONOMIC THEORIES IN THE ECONOMIC DEBATE



By Jakob Hafele, Frederick Heussner and Janina Urban



[This article published on November 23, 2014 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.sueddeutsche.de.]



[Hans-Werner Sinn, one of the best-known German economists and president of the ifo-Institute for Economic Research, thinks critics of the dominant theory do not understand economics. Critics counter the professor from Munich is misguided. He oversimplifies many things.]



Stimulated by the debate in the Sueddeutschen Zeitung newspaper, a public discussion has finally broken out on the state and future of economics. The essay by the ifo president Hans-Werner Sinn titled “The Great Error” in which he vehemently defends current teaching and research has provoked passionate reactions.



Economic theories greatly influence politics and society and therefore are fought for. The American Nobel Prize winner Paul Samuelson once said: “I don’t care who makes the laws of a country – as long as I can write the economics textbooks.” Therefore it is problematic that economics only knows one single approach. The focus on the market and efficiency dominates a discipline that could make important contributions to the acute problems of our world.



THE ONE-SIDED PICTURE OF THE ECONOMY



Sinn is one of the best-known German economists. What he says finds an enthusiastic response in the general public. Now he reproaches critics of the dominant theory for not understanding economics. Economists should admit their mistakes and not believe in perfect markets. However that is the problem of current economics. It is constantly oriented in the ideal of the market and only looks at the economy from one perspective.



This begins with the first lectures in the study of economics. Students learn that the welfare of all people increases when they act selfishly on markets. That is the core of the neoclassical theory that has deeply influenced our understanding of the economy. “The price affects supply and demand” and “as much market as possible and as much state as necessary” are only two of the many platitudes we owe to neoclassicism.



The current situation in economics is like a non-functioning convertible sofa that does not pull out any more. If one only looks at this couch from the front, one would nev3er notice a rusty screw in the back blocks the pullout. The couch must be examined from the other side. Translated this means: important discoveries about our economy are simply lost through the one-sided approach of economics focused on the market.



ECONOMISTS AS PHYSICIANS?



The one-sided and problematic ideal of the market is clear when Hans-Werner Sinn compares economists with physicians. This comparison pains a positive picture. Crises are equated with sicknesses and are the exception, not the norm. Their causes are clear and undisputed. The economist as physician appears as a friend in need who knows what is good for the patient.



However this picture if very problematic. That the economy is equated with the market and understood as a basically healthy organism and ideal of social health is hidden. Complex economic realities like the financial crisis when a teamwork of the most different factors nearly led to the collapse of the organism are reduced to individual partial aspects like capital holding rates. A more comprehensive treatment that explains sicknesses by referring to diverse causes and their interplay disappears from view.



A more fundamental criticism that understands the crisis as a symptom of a much more far-reaching sickness of the whole organism is not undertaken. The causes and solutions of crises are much contested. The one truth about the financial crisis does not exist. When economists like physicians only “prescribe” a single kind of solution as without alternative, the problematic and one-sided nature of current economics is obvious.



This is clear in the case of austerity in south Europe where human suffering is described as a side-effect of a bitter pill that must be given to the patient even against his will if necessary.



IS CRITICISM OF SINN JUSTIFIED?



Critics reproach the economist Hans-Werner Sinn for a one-sided picture of the economy that is incompatible with the complex reality. Instead of helping solve the acute problems of the world, the focus is on the market and efficiency. Is this criticism justified?



THE MANTLE OF OBJECTIVITY



Economists are not neutral observers, even if Hans-Werner Sinn wants to persuade us of that with the physician comparison. Economic analyses and political recommendations are always normative since certain assumptions about human conduct and our world underlie the applied methods. When it is assumed as a general statement that a market leads to an optimal distribution, that is not a value-neutral assumption. In neoclassical theory, the goal is attaining an efficient distribution.



Whether such a distribution is just cannot be settled. Efficiency is set above justice. In other words, that all products on the market find their purchaser and the ever greater gulf between poor and rich is only of marginal interest.



With that, mainstream economics has become the representative of a certain worldview. This is highly explosive since it sells itself as an objective science. It does not openly reveal its normative elements in the classroom, research or political consultation. Thus the influence of economic norms on our economic reality occurs under the mantle of objectivity.



PLURAL ECONOMICS



The theories of the economic mainstream are normative and one-sided and have a great influence on politics. Our criticism is by no means refuted when Hans-Werner Sinn in his apology admits that modern mainstream economics knows cases of market failure or understands environmental problems as cost-factors.



On the contrary, all these objections are only varieties of the abstract basic idea that markets automatically lead to the greatest possible prosperity. Many other schools of thought exist alongside neoclassical mainstream economics – like complexity economics, the Austrian school, post-Keynesianism or Marxian economics.



These schools choose other perspectives and focus for example on complex system dynamics, system dynamics, distribution justice or the role of power in a society. They mostly come to completely different conclusions than neoclassicism.



All these perspectives could help us understand the complex reality in which we live and find appropriate answers to economic problems. Therefore we need a pluralist turn in economics. A diversity of methods and theories and an interdisciplinary approach are needed to reasonably counter the economic crises and challenges of the present time, not one theory that can explain everything.



Problems like high unemployment, the Euro-crisis or climate change must be considered from different perspectives. Only in that way can we come to a picture that does justice to the complex phenomenon “economy.”

Jakob Hafele, 26, Frederick Heussner, 26 and Janina Urban, 25 are members of the Network for Plural Economics (www.plurale-oekonomik.de).



REBELLION AT GERMAN UNIVERSITIES



The study of economics runs on well-trodden paths. Diversity of theories and methods is lacking



By Benedikt Weihmayr



[This article published on July 22, 2014 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.capital.de.]



[The financial crisis has shaken economics. Its models are too unrealistic or out of touch with reality according to the current reproach. This conflict has long reached the German lecture halls. In May 2014, 40 student groups from different countries launched a call in which they denounced the “one-sidedness of theory.” The German network Plural Economics was one of the groups. Its activist Benedikt Weihmayr explains its criticism.]



Economic theories are themes in the first semester in the study of economics. What did Smith, Ricardo and Marx, Jevens, Walras and Marshall, Schumpeter, Hayek and Mises, Keynes, Samuelson and Minsky, Friedman, Lucas and Mankiw say and think? Regarding academic work, how do I do research in the academic literature? How do I structure homework? What is a model and what is a theory? On methodology, how do I gather data, evaluate statistics and conduct an interview with an expert? On economic foundations, how does a bank function, who makes the political-economic decisions and how large are the sectors? Two classes are seminars; a lecture is given in one and the other is completed with homework and an exam. This is a rather intuitive approach. Students are introduced to the breadth and beauty of economics this way.



However reality looks different. Many themes do not occur in most courses of study whether Bachelor or Master. Whoever wants to focus on theories outside the mainstream must do this on his or her own initiative. Even the partly stirring debates within neoclassical research are not discussed in the courses of study. Methodology is limited to quantitative approaches and models and their validity is not critically examined. Instead of working out one’s questions in homework or discussing in seminars with fellow students, the subjects are presented in lectures and parroted on examinations. In this way, students get into shape and regurgitate one-sided conclusions instead of developing solutions.



The demand for diversity is not revolutionary but a foregone conclusion or matter of course.



WE NEED PLURALITY



Together with student initiatives from 30 other countries, the Network for Plural Economics champions plurality in economics. In our International Call of May 5, 2014, we urge three forms of pluralism: variety of theories, different methods and inter-disciplinarity.



Theoretical diversity means adopting other perspectives in study alongside the dominant neoclassical approach. In some courses of study, behavioral economics is explored. However, from our perspective, Schumpeter’s or Hayek’s theories should be discussed in every introductory course as well as Keynes, Marx and Minsky.



Each of these theories has its area of application and its strengths. One theory explains innovation very well, another the importance of information on markets, another power and distribution and still another economic and financial crises. If this diversity existed in teaching and research, there would be a competition for the best ideas and solutions.



WE NEED INTER-DISCIPLINARITY



Methodological pluralism makes a considerable contribution. The neoclassical tradition presents the uses of different goods and consumer articles in graphs and expresses this in functions. This is often a good approach for understanding the general functioning of markets. However these quantitative methods are much less helpful in investigating culture, identities or the genesis of markets. For that, the researcher must know how to conduct an interview or grapple with archival data. If one wants to explore the collapse of a bank like Lehman Brothers – an obvious economic research theme – one should also tackle Ben Bernanke’s academic background, Henry Paulson’s professional career and the influence of laws and agreements on the conduct of financial markets along with econometric models.



The example of the financial market crisis makes clear economic phenomena are insufficiently understood when they are torn out of their sociological, political, legal or historical contexts. Therefore we need inter-disciplinarity. Inter-disciplinarity gives increased knowledge and sensitizes students to understand the social effects and ethical implications of economic decisions.



Economic themes penetrate our daily routine. Pluralism is a social question. Diversity in economics is more than an academic necessity.



Therefore we revolt out of academic passion and social consciousness and turn against intellectual monotony. We urge the defenders of the mainstream, the silent critics of neoclassicism, students, politicians and corporate leaders to enter in the discussion. The crisis of economics is a social affair and must be tackled socially.

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy