I like IKE

Imperfect knowledge economics, or IKE to their friends, is popular with all the popular kids. George Soros, Bill Janeway and Anatole Kaletsky were in attendance as Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg - or more properly, their students - showed the latest work in progress. Read more

Where the World Economic Association Started

Having lunch next to Edward Fullbrook he told me the story of how the post-autistic economic review got its start, leading to what we today know as the World Economic Association and all the great work coming from this community.

Back in 1999 Edward was at a conference in Cambridge and talked to attendees about the French movement to bring economics back to a more realistic starting point, and the great success the French students had in getting media attention. Attendees were not, as it turned out, convinced that this was even happening. Not to be dissuaded, Edward set up an anonymous e-mail address after the conference and wrote an anonymous e-mail to the 99 conference attendees informing them again about what had happened in France. Read more

A New Psychology: "Mimetic" Preferences

One of the new things at this year's INET is a way to look at the psychology of agents, namely Rene Girard's theory of 'mimetic' preferences, or rather that one consumer copies another's preferences in order to keep up socially. (I am grossly simplifying here, as a two hour panel on Girard will substantiate, but this seemed to me to be the gist). Read more

Great Hospitality or Chance to Innovate?

some personal touches to hospitality at the INET conference, although I feel for the people who have been holding that sign all day.

with thanks to an anonymous commenter for pointing this out, although they might just have run out of poster stands.

Kuhn vs Lakatos: it is not the institute of anything goes...

In his opening remarks, Robert Johnson said that this "is not the institute of anything goes" with INET now getting to a point where it needs to stop criticising the mainstream and should instead "create a new vision."

Outside the main hall of the conference there is even a poster setting out the core institutions needed to affect change in economics. That poster, and indeed the 'old' approach of INET is very Lakatos. Accept the core and work to modify the periphery.

Read more

I Have to Act Like an Adult in Hong Kong

The INET conference in Hong Kong is serious business. Students will be wearing suits for the first time since their cousin's wedding only to bump into senior public servants with buffed cuff-links who in turn are mingling with billionaires and Nobel Prize winners. It's seriously adult stuff.

It's just a shame that I will probably be too giddy to notice. In fairness I will try not to gush at people; like I may have done with Axel Leijonhufvud last year, or Richard Koo, or Robert Skidelsky, or... well... that's not really the point. Read more

History of Economics and Images: static and dynamic

  There has been an important movement towards making available on the web a host of open courses. One can easily access courses from major American universities such as Harvard, MIT, Yale and Princeton, among others (see the Open Courseware Consortium for similar initiatives worldwide). Read more

Economic “fields” as historical objects (not yet)

The notion of “field” is so pervasive that economists hardly pay conscious attention to it. The student is early trained into the habit of classifying knowledge, then papers and colleagues according to their field. You share your office with a labor economist, will be part of a committee recruiting some health economist, and are late with your review of this environmental economics paper (well, that's unlikely). Economic fields draw a map with which economists navigate their profession on a daily basis. Read more

The challenge of “value-ladeness” for history writing


Although the objectivity-Grail Quest has ended with total success decades ago (so economists say), the question of the possibility and consequences of economists' values smuggling into their daily practice still periodically surfaces, and crises make good times for such debates. Yet, not often do we historians too ask how economists' values should be handled in our writing. Read more

Paul Samuelson and the History of Economics

    Paul Samuelson is well-known to have been a compulsive citer and for having a particular Whig program for the history of economics. Until late in his career he kept writing on "old economists" like Cassel, Böhm-Bawerk, and Ricardo, for example (for instance, see his co-authored article on Ricardo published in HOPE in 2006) . Read more