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In July we unveiled two key projects we are working on. Firstly, our mission to facilitate 'citizen economists' in collaboration with the RSA. Second, our new book has begun to feature in the press - its due for publication November 2016.

There is also an opportunity to contribute a submission to the Mark Blaug Student Essay Prize, brought to you in cooperation with the Federation for European Economic Development. 
What's been happening over the last month...
 
  1. Ha-Joon Chang and the Royal Society of Arts ask: "Can citizens be economists?"
  2. Commentators debate how much new World Bank Chief Economist really wants to 'rethink economics'
  3. First taste of the new Rethinking Economics book, featured in the Guardian and LSE blog
  4. Mark Blaug Student Essay Prize 2016 - Submissions have opened
  5. Upcoming events and opportunities
Ha- Joon Chang and the Royal Society of Arts ask: "Can citizens be economists?"

We certainly think so, and we're working with the Royal Society of Arts to create a 'citizens economics council' - fifty people representative of the UK population who will receive a 'Rethinking Economics crash-course', before taking their newfound lnowledge into their own communities. 

This is happening because of the wave of voices calling for improved economic literacy in society, and increased interaction between economic experts and the general public; we believe this will make economic decision-making a more democratic process.

Here is Ha-Joon Chang explaining more through a cool animation:

2. Commentators debate how much new World Bank Chief Economist really wants to 'rethink economics'.

We were initially excited to hear that Paul Romer, a man often critical of the economics profession and its tenuous or sloppy links between mathematical elements and the real world, was to become the World Bank's chief economist. Bloomberg describes Romer as an 'economics upstart'.  We thought this might signal change in the wider world of economics that, whilst unlikely to influence our campaign, provided a level of encouragement.


We then listened to arguments suggesting that Romer wasn't such a radical choice after all, and even practiced the tenuous 'mathiness' in his own work that he otherwise dismissed. Jo Michell in Medium points out that his critique of economics appears superficially in line with our own, but is actually much narrower. Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven also points out the discord between a Western economist who has applied little of his work to the developing world, serving as CE of an organisation primarily serving the interests of the developing world.

We'd love to know what you think. Email us a blog@rethinkeconomics.org 
3. First taste of the new Rethinking Economics book featured in the Guardian and LSE blog

'Econocracy': A society seemingly democratic with political parties and elections, but political goals which are expressed in terms of their effect on “the economy”, and economic policymaking is viewed as a technical, not a political, activity.

This is the subject of a new book due to be published in November 2016: One hundred years ago the idea of 'the economy' didn't exist. Now, improving the economy has come to be seen as perhaps the most important task facing modern societies. Politics and policymaking are conducted in the language of economics and economic logic shapes how political issues are thought about and addressed. The result is that the majority of citizens, who cannot speak this language, are locked out of politics while political decisions are increasingly devolved to experts. The econocracy explains how economics came to be seen this way - and the damaging consequences. It opens up the discipline and demonstrates its inner workings to the wider public so that the task of reclaiming democracy can begin.

So far its an idea that has been featured in the London School of Economics blog:
The economy features prominently in the public debate, even though the jargon and decision-making behind it is completely inaccessible to much of the public. As a result, and to articulate their economic grievances, many use the language of nationalism and immigration – something that was particularly evident in the Brexit debate

And the Guardian:
"The referendum illustrates clearly a nation divided between a minority who feel they own the language of economics and those who don’t. Unless economists find a way to give people a voice to engage in debate, economics risks becoming completely disregarded as irrelevant or propaganda."

You can pre-order Econocracy: The perils of leaving economics to the experts here.

4. Mark Blaug Student Essay Prize 2016 - Submissions have opened!

Competition time!
Reform economics and win cash prizes in the process!

Devised in collaboration with the Foundation for European Economic Development (FEED), we are proud to announce that the Mark Blaug Student Essay Prize is open for submissions!

"Rather than applying economics to a particular problem, eligible essays must reflect critically on the state of economics itself, as Mark Blaug did in many of his works. Critical reflections may include the assumptions adopted, the suitability of the concepts deployed, the mode of analysis, the role of mathematical models, the use of econometrics, real-world relevance, and so on."

Essays are limited to 6000 words, have in the past been judged by economists such as Robert Skidelsky and Ha-Joon Chang, and carry prizes of up to £500.

http://www.feed-charity.org/essay-prize.ht 

5. Upcoming events and opportunities

Job posting: "An innovative taxation reform organisation is seeking a highly organised economist/research assistant, to engage with experts and perform research and writing for a book which is in development.  The topic of the book is UK Taxation and Benefit Reform. The role will involve working with complex financial data.  It is a temporary part time role of approximately four months in duration, with the possibility of extension, working remotely." Email roxangella@hotmail.com for details.
 

 

 - 30th August- 3rd September  Budapest Degrowth Conference: A forum to present the latest in global degrowth thought and practice, and bring it into dialogue within the specific context of Central and Eastern Europe of the 21st century

- 19-22 October YSI Plenary: Piecing together a paradigm The Young Scholars Initiative's (YSI) first plenary “Piecing Together a Paradigm” will bring together 14 diverse YSI working groups -- each searching for frameworks to guide their research -- to place their work in a bigger picture, asking how the specific questions of each group fit together.  

 
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