The introduction to this series is here. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Mankiw’s third principle: Rational People Think At The Margin. His definition is: Rational people systematically and purposefully do the best they can to achieve their objectives, given the available opportunities.” Principles of Macroeconomics 6th Ed. at 6 He defines marginal […]
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About Ed Walker
Notre Dame undergrad (math); JD, Indiana University at Bloomington; 1st Lieutenant, US Army.; private practice in corporate and securities law; Assistant AG in Tennessee for consumer protection and securities; Blue Sky Securities Commissioner, Tennessee; private practice, bankruptcy and corporate law.
I have had a lifelong interest in economics. For most of my career, that interest was practical, focused on the problems in front of me. Lately I have been more interested in economics as a theory, especially its impact on the lives of people like those I met in my bankruptcy practice, and on the politics of money in the US. I also enjoy reading philosophers, starting in college and steadily expanding my reading ever since. I wrote at FireDogLake for a number of years.
Generally, I think the problem facing the US is the dominance of neoliberal discourse. I think it clouds the vision, and limits the kinds of problems that can be identified and solved. For example, the existence and danger of climate change can easily be identified in a scientific discussion. However, the problem does not fit the neoliberal discourse because science insists that the pursuit of individual and corporate self-interest will lead to devastation. In neoliberal discourse, the pursuit of self-interest always leads to Eden.
The neoliberal project has two prongs. One is the police function of crushing dissent and alternative views. The police function is provided by government agencies and private and institutional actors. The counterpart is the economic system , which is operated by government and by private and institutional actors. Some of these actors operate in both spheres. I focus on the second prong.
Entries by Ed Walker
Two of the most depressing interviews I have ever seen are the Jacobin interview with Stathis Kouvelakis and the New Statesman interview with Yanis Varoufakis in the wake of the Greek referendum and the capitulation of Prime MInister Alexis Tsipras of the Syriza party. Kouvelakis is a member of the Left Platform in Syriza, Tsipras’ […]
The introduction to this series is here. Part 1 is here. Mankiw’s second principle is The Cost of Something Is What You Give Up To Get It. Mankiw explains that you have to include opportunity costs in your calculations. His example is college: the actual cost of going to college includes tuition, but not necessarily […]
The introduction to this series is here. The first of the Ten Principles of Economics laid down by N. Gregory Mankiw is “People Face Trade-Offs”. Principles of Macroeconomics, 6th Ed. 2012, p. 4. In language more suited to a high school textbook than a best-selling college textbook, he provides several examples. If you study economics […]
The Greek people overwhelmingly rejected the austerity demanded by the European Elites on Sunday, and the media filled up with opinions about what should happen, and predictions for what will happen, none of which is worth a bucket of spit. What we do know is that whatever happens next will mean more misery for the […]
In this series, I tried to learn what Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions meant for economics. In this post, I suggested a possible paradigm for neoliberal economic theory. It uses the Ten Principles of Economics preached by N. Gregory Mankiw in his best-selling economics textbook, the general principle of maximization of economic efficiency, […]
In a series of posts which you can find here, I have been trying to formulate an answer to the question why has neoliberal economics not been tossed out in the wake of its total failure as demonstrated by the Great Crash. I’ve used as a lens Thomas Kuhn’s seminal essay: The Structure of Scientific […]
So far in this series, we have encountered a number of answers to my central questions: why hasn’t neoliberal economic theory been thrown out as a result of its horrifying failure? Why hasn’t the paradigm change theory of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolution worked? If Kuhn were right, then the utter failure of […]
John Maynard Keynes wrote about paradigm change long before Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In a 1926 essay, The End of Laissez-Faire Keynes discusses the lingering doctrines of Laissez-Faire economics well into the period economists were for the most part persuaded by the examples of Alfred Marshall, and the proponents of the marginal […]
You’d think that in the sciences, paradigm change would be quick and painless. But Thomas Kuhn shows that it isn’t so in The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions. Most significant changes in physics, chemistry and astronomy, the examples Kuhn discusses, happen over a significant period of time. Kuhn discusses the problem at length. One factor is […]