Heterodox Economics Newsletter

Issue 252 September 23, 2019 web pdf Heterodox Economics Directory

Last week I visited the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland at the occasion of the annual conference of the European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE). This was fascinating for at least three reasons: First, the Warsaw School of Economics is a truly historical place, which hosted intellectual giants of heterodox economics such as Michael Kalecki, Oskar Lange or Kasimir Laski in the past, and tries to keep this heritage visible and alive till today. Second, EAEPE is presumably the largest and most diverse heterodox association in Europe and features a strongly pluralist and interdisciplinary agenda, which is, as you might guess, much to my liking. As a regular participant of EAEPE conferences I have recognized that the quality of contributions increases every year and so I had the opportunity to listen to a series of interesting and engaging talks (you can have a glimpse at the program here). By the way, all non-European readers should notice that EAEPE's annual conference is open for submissions from all over the world and not restricted in any way to European residents. Finally, I was extremely honored to give a lecture on Philosophy and Economics during the pre-conference workshop, which proved to me an extremely motivating experience (in case you are interested, what I told them, you can obtain the outline of my workshop as well as my slides from the Newsletter's website. However, it is probably even better to inspect Claudius Gräbner's pre-conference material on the Economic Complexity Index, which has been extremely well received by the students...).

Against this backdrop, the next question on my mind is, whether the enthusiasm instilled by visiting the EAEPE conference will survive my next conference trip, which is leading me to Leipzig, where the annual meeting of the German Economic Association is taking place. Hm. Last time I had been there, it proved helpful not to speak about heterodoxy or criticizing econ textbooks as this quickly led other participants to minimize the time spent with me. However, I did not recognize this straight from the beginning and at day three I felt a little isolated - just as if I would have had no shower over the course of the past week ;-)

But let's wait, see and hope. Maybe my fellow German colleagues follow the example of Larry Summers, who recently admitted on Twitter that effective demand matters and, most probably, Post-Keynesians have been right on this all along. That's indeed courageous and I hope some of this intellectual openness and courage will trickle down to the debate on economic policy in Germany.

All the best,

Jakob

PS: Be sure to inspect this Newsletter's podcast section, which contains quite cool stuff (submissions for this are always welcome, btw).

PPS: I mentioned the probably less well-known Kasimir Laski above in conjunction with Kalecki and Lange not only because he was a great economist, but also because he proved to be very important for my own biography. He was a Professor emeritus at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, where I did my undergraduate studies. Back then, the study program was 97% mainstream and I met Kaszik - as his friends would call him - in the course of a dinner organized by the Econ department, which I joined more or less accidentally. During this dinner he explained to me forcefully the central tenets of Post-Keynesian economics - something I never had heard before, but which made a lot of sense to me intuitively. Retrospectively, I think this was one of the major events that motivated me to go beyond criticizing the standard textbook approach and to try to excavate and study theoretical alternatives to the mainstream. Regrettably, Kaszik has left us about four years ago at the age of 93.

© public domain

Table of contents