Economics

Achilles v Ulysses and Complexity, according to the OECD

Duncan Green - October 12, 2017

Just been browsing a new OECD book on what complexity and systems thinking mean for policy-making. It consists of ‘a compilation of contributions from a series of seminars and workshops on complexity issues over the past two years. It reflects the combined wisdom and perspectives of an internal and external network of researchers, academics and policymakers.’ The pieces are short (couple of pages each) and come …

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Can Oxfam do the Doughnut? A conversation with Kate Raworth

Duncan Green - June 21, 2017

Kate Raworth came in last week to present her new book, Doughnut Economics (see my earlier review here or Simon Maxwell’s thoughtful summary/critique) and discuss its implications for Oxfam. After writing the initial DE paper while still at Oxfam back in 2012, Kate left to turn it into a book, so there was a definite air of the prodigal daughter returns. Given that I’ve already reviewed …

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Review of Doughnut Economics – a new book you will need to know about

Duncan Green - April 6, 2017

My Exfam colleague Kate Raworth’s book Doughnut Economics is launched today, and I think it’s going to be big. Not sure just how big, or whether I agree with George Monbiot’s superbly OTT plug comparing it to Keynes’s General Theory. It’s really hard to tell, as a non-economist, just how paradigm-changing it will be, but I loved it, and I want everyone to read it. …

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Doughnut Economics is published next week. Here’s why you should be excited

Duncan Green - March 29, 2017

Kate Raworth’s book, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist is published next Thursday. I loved it , and I’ll review it properly then, but here are three excerpts to whet your appetite: On the importance of diagrams: ‘Think, then, of the circles, parabolas, lines and curves that make up the core diagrams in economics – those seemingly innocuous pictures depicting …

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Davos & Inequality Continued: What does an alternative economic vision for the future look like?

Duncan Green - January 17, 2017

Deborah Hardoon, who really ought to be resting on her laurels after her report for Davos went viral yesterday, springs to the defence of (the right kind of) economics. Nerd Alert. As a student of economics, I always found the technical aspects of the subject deeply satisfying. Getting to the ‘right’ answer using algebra and statistics, solving ‘proofs’ and finding that stable equilibrium. Bliss. But …

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Here’s a summary of The Economist’s important critique of GDP and suggestions for reform

Duncan Green - May 6, 2016

‘Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made’ said Otto von Bismarck. Turns out you can probably add GDP to that list. Last week’s Economist had a comprehensive takedown of the uses and abuses of Gross Domestic Product as an indicator of wellbeing, economic health or pretty much anything else. People have been critiquing GDP ever since it was created, …

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‘Economics Rules’, Dani Rodrik’s love letter to his discipline

Duncan Green - December 4, 2015

Dani Rodrik has always played an intriguing role in the endless skirmishes over the economics of development. His has been a delicate balancing act, critiquing the excesses of market fundamentalism from the inside, while avoiding the more abrasive tone of out-and-out critics such as Joe Stiglitz or Ha-Joon Chang. He does sorrow; they prefer anger. His work has been hugely influential, helping to stem the …

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Arguing with Angus Deaton on aid

Duncan Green - October 12, 2015

Tremendous news that Angus Deaton has won the Nobel prize in economics, particularly because this will further direct attention towards one of the great challenges of the age – rising inequality, on which Deaton is a great thinker, not least in The Great Escape, which deserves an even wider readership. Last year, I had a public exchange with him on the From Poverty to Power blog, …

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Why is economic orthodoxy so resistant to change? The art of paradigm maintenance.

Duncan Green - September 17, 2014

Ever wondered why it’s so hard to shift big institutions (and the economics profession in general) on economic policy, even when events so graphically show the need for change? I’ve just come across a fascinating 2006 paper by Robin Broad, ‘Research, knowledge and the art of ‘paradigm maintenance’: the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC)’, summary here. Full paper here. It must be about …

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‘Economists know almost nothing about anything’. Yet another reason to love Thomas Piketty

Duncan Green - June 20, 2014

From the intro to ‘Capital in the 21st Century’, a taste of his great approach to learning, the easy discursive style, (but also why the book is 600 pages long – succinct he ain’t. I’ve got to page 164): “To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological …

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