I’m in the middle of writing a paper on Classical Economic Theory which has as its central theme how near impossible for someone educated within one school of economic thought to understand another. My own belief is that one can only understand an economic theory if one actually has at some stage thought it was valid.
But on the larger question whether economic theory can help us understand what to do, it is an unambiguous yes, if it’s classical economic theory, and for the most part if it’s Austrian. Otherwise, forget it. Modern economics is basically a bang-your-head-against-a-wall-theory because it feels so good when you stop.
This book, that has just come to my attention, because of a presentation next week by Alex Millmow which might be of interest if you are in the neighbourhood. I have, however, highlighted two bits from the ad for the book which make me very suspicious that she might really be able to help out any of us with much of anything at all.
(1) What do the ideas of Karl Marx tell us about the likely future for the Chinese economy?
(2) With globalization in trouble, what can we learn about handling Brexit and Trumpism?
(1) The more they pay attention to Marx, the worse their economic outcomes will be.
(2) If you are wondering how to “handle” Brexit and the economics of Donald Trump, you are already demonstrably incapable of understanding their natures or how and why they will improve things.
Anyway, here is the ad for the book and below is the ad for Alex’s presentation.
Since the days of Adam Smith, economists have grappled with a series of familiar problems – but often their ideas are hard to digest, even before we try to apply them to today’s issues. Linda Yueh is renowned for her combination of erudition, as an accomplished economist herself, and accessibility, as a leading writer and broadcaster in this field. In The Great Economists she explains the key thoughts of history’s greatest economists, how our lives have been influenced by their ideas and how they could help us with the policy challenges that we face today.
In the light of current economic problems, and in particular growth, Yueh explores the thoughts of economists from Adam Smith and David Ricardo to recent academics Douglass North and Robert Solow. She asks, for example, what do the ideas of Karl Marx tell us about the likely future for the Chinese economy? How do the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, who argued for government spending to create full employment, help us think about state intervention? And with globalization in trouble, what can we learn about handling Brexit and Trumpism?
Alex Millmow – Policy in the Pub: The Great Economists – Can their ideas can help us today?
Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Marshall, Hayek & Keynes. Just a few of the illustrious names from the history of economics but what can the ideas of history’s greatest economists tell us about the most important issues of our time? Join us for October’s Policy in the Pub to hear from Associate Professor Alex Millmow of Federation University and the President of the History of Thought Society of Australia (HETSA), who will discuss what (if anything) we can learn from the Great Economists. The title for this talk comes from a recent book by Linda Yueh “The Great Economists: How their ideas can help us today” and the talk will include a reflection and commentary on the issues it raises.
Event details: The evening is being held at 5.30pm Wednesday, 17 October 2018 at the Kelvin Club 14-30 Melbourne Place, just off Russell St. There will be drinks and nibbles from 5pm for those who can get there a bit earlier.
As always, to plan for numbers, please register.