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10 years after the Great Financial Crash: Economics needs more than ‘Reformation’

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31.12.2017

A year ago, I was looking forward to 2017 as the tenth anniversary of an event that mainstream “neoclassical” economists said couldn’t happen: the global financial crisis which kicked off in 2007. You’d have thought the epoch would have presented a chance to reflect on the past, but it turned out the reflection on that event by the economics profession and the financial press was minimal: it was an event they’d rather forget than commemorate.

There was only trivial coverage of the anniversary in the mainstream media. For instance, the UK media could have made a big song and dance of it being ten years since the collapse of Northern Rock since it was the first bank run in Britain for 150 years. But there were only a couple of light articles in the Financial Times (“In charts: UK banking ten years after Northern Rock”; “Ten years after Northern Rock: has UK banking changed?”) a fluff piece by BBC TV—in which I was interviewed, but not understood (“BBC Business Live interview on 10th anniversary of Northern Rock”)—and a smattering of coverage elsewhere.

Because learning lessons from history now seems to be so last century!

Thus, just as it was only the rebel economists like me who saw the crisis coming, it was only the rebels who indeed commemorated it. One way we did was by latching on to another anniversary in 2017: it was 500 years since Martin Luther triggered the Reformation by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. Rather late in the year, some students suggested using this anniversary as a hook to call for a ‘Reformation of Economics.’

I gladly took part in it, dressing up in a monk’s robe, speaking briefly (along with The Guardian’s Larry Elliott, and the prominent heterodox economists Vicki Chick, Mariana Mazzucato, and Kate Raworth), and then blue-tacking........

© RT.com