I am sometimes on twitter – usually as a viewer rather than contributor – mainly because a year or two after I arrived on it I found myself with access to someone else’s account and tweeting as them as well…
I found twitter schizophrenia was not good for the soul and withdrew for another year or two. Now I’m gently returning as I appear no longer to be somebody else as well as me…
But the return may have been no better for the soul. When I suggested that “Government creates money out of thin air. Taxes prevent inflation. It’s not difficult”, I was taken to task by both the New Economics Foundation and Positive Money!
Of course I’m no economist. But I do begin to wonder when I’m told that “It really – really isn’t that simple…” whether there is not a little self serving pride here. If it is admitted that Economics was understandable by the plebs where would the high priests of economics be?
The economy is, as I’ve tried to explore before, an entirely human construct so why on earth should it be so complicated? Plant biology is complicated because it studies something we do not create. When the economy exists, and is created, so that we, as humans, can better live together then we need all to have a basic understanding of it. The economy otherwise does not have any real consent from the people. Every one of whom are – as Covid-19 is showing us – an essential part of it.
Quite by chance I stumbled on an edition of the, always interesting, Renegade Inc where the head of economics at the University of Bristol, Professor Sarah Smith, and the head of research and schools at ‘Our Economy’, Ali Norrish, were in conversation.
The ‘Our Economy’ idea was set up by Jonah Earle who, whilst at Manchester University co-founded the Rethinking Economics movement.
Although Professor Sarah Smith was trying to be inclusive and lamented the fact that economics was not taught at GCSE level (thank goodness, I thought) I found her pretty unreconstructed; “Economists work in important places”… “Economy seen by most as being about money”. And this last was particularly ironic given my original tweet. Money is either not mentioned in economics at all or is seen as way too complicated to discuss!
If we taught Civics at GCSE we could then discover what we want from our economy rather than thinking we have to know everything we need about the economy in order to understand it.
Apparently it was in 1903 that Cambridge University separated the study of Economics from the study of moral sciences.
Ali Norrish suggested that as she was an English, not an Economics graduate, it was usually a question of language and she was keen to make the economy properly understood.
She didn’t say so, but she should. The economy is actually for the benefit of us all.
Economic ‘science’ has been hijacked by the specialists – academic specialists and – especially – City specialists.
From what we now know of Economics, if science it is, it should certainly remain a distinctly moral one.