Thursday, 8 October 2009

TASC Progressive Economy Conference - Saturday 10th October



Just finished my presentation to the TASC Progressive Economy Conference entitled 'Greening the Economy, Greening Economics' - http://qub.academia.edu/JohnBarry/Talks. The picture here basically summarises the paper which critiques the dominant neo-classical economic orthodoxy - a theme I've been banging on about for years/decades its seems - ever since I first had the temerity in an undergrad economics tutorial in UCD in the mid 1980s to question the ethical and political values underpinning it. I seem to recall it was a discussion sparked by an article - whcih as I recall had lots of those impressive looking econometric algorithms and tables etc. which basically developed a 'model' and 'proof' (not an 'argument' mind or anything as 'soft' as that) that bought sex was not as utility maxmising as sex with someone you love. I'm kidding you not and I'd love to find that article again. This experience was for me (although scarily not everyone else in the class and not least the economics lecturer who shall remain anonymous) the 'emperor has no clothes' moment when I said WTF? First its obvious why this would be case but more importantly what was this economic thinking doing meddling in this aspect of human experience? I was happy (and still am) that if you've a limited budget and have to choose between a coiuple of optoins as to what coat to buy, had fixed 'non-transitive' preferences, didn't take the views of others into account, lived on this mysterious island where everyone was perfectly rational, utility maximising and there existed the utopia of a 'perfect market' with perfect information, neo-classical economics is yer only man!

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