CWP Stories, Part II, Episode 35

We’re back with a second episode with existing and former members of the Walras Pareto Centre. If you didn’t listen to part I, I recommend listening to part I first.

This time we will hear about what they like and dislike about their work. And about any regrets they may have about their choices or trajectories.

If you want to join an online writing group on Thursdays at 10.15-12.15 CEST, contact Maria Bach via Twitter or email.

Featured music (apart from the usual intro and outro music): Loop of Life – V01 by RAME ( via FreeSound ( under Creative Commons’ BY-NC-ND license.

Slavery, Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution, Episode 34

In this episode, I interview Maxine Berg and Pat Hudson about their recent book on the role of slavery in capitalist development and the British industrial revolution.

To check out Eric Williams book on slavery and capitalism, click here.

CWP Stories, Part I, Episode 33

In this episode, I share some conversations I had with some existing and old members of the Walras Pareto Centre (CWP) in Lausanne. These are raw conversations from researchers in the history of economics and political science that may help you feel less alone and might just help you figure some things out. Who knows?

Featured music (apart from the usual intro and outro music): Loop of Life – V01 by RAME ( via FreeSound ( under Creative Commons’ BY-NC-ND license.

The Centre for the History of Knowledge (LUCK), Episode 32

From left to right: Anna Nilsson Hammar, Johan Östling, Evelina Kallträsk and David Larsson Heidenblad.

In this episode, I spoke to several members of the History of Knowledge Centre at the University of Lund, or LUCK for short.

We discuss what is the history of knowledge and how its approaches might be useful for historians of economics.

To check out their publications, as well as other opportunities that the centre has to offer, go here.

Featured music (apart from the usual intro and outro music): Sounds by Alyonka and Sonically Sound, Retro Funk.

Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, Episode 31

In this episode, I invited Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche to talk about her new book project on the history of discrimination in economics, partly based on her PhD thesis.

If you’re interested in her work, check out her website here.

Featured music (apart from the usual intro and outro music): Sound by Alyonka.

Exit Capitalism! A New Board Game, Episode 30

In this episode, I invited François Allisson to talk to us about a game he made with some of his students called Sortons du capitalisme ! or Exit Capitalism! in English.

Two cards from the game. Translation of titles: Trust Fund Baby (left) and The Theory of the Dress (right). For further explanation in English, listen to the episode.

Thanks to Justine Loulergue, Thomas Bouchet, Etienne Furrer and Sina Badiei for agreeing to be recorded when we played the game at the Walras-Pareto Centre at the University of Lausanne.

The other games referred to in the podcast are KAPITAL and Class Struggle. To check out the history of Monopoly referred to at the end, listen here.

Featured music (apart from the usual intro and outro music): Sounds by Sonically Sound, Retro Funk and Melokocool, Game Over.

Inequality: Part II, Episode 29

Erik Bengtsson, an economic historian of Sweden, refers to this cartoon which depicts the parliament in session when an invisible hand writes “General Strike” on the board published in a national newspaper, Söndags Nisse in 1906. Taken from Fredrik Ström’s Arbetets söner: text och bilder ur den svenska arbetarrörelsens saga. Third Edition. Steinsviks bokförlag AB, 1959.

As we heard in part one of our series on inequality, researchers looking at inequality urge people to look more on the micro level because the trends and causes are not universal across time and space. So in this second part, we look at why and how inequality goes up and down depending on where you look.

All the examples you will hear, in some way, critique and build upon Thomas Piketty’s comparative approach. We will hear from Erik Bengtsson, who studies the trends of inequality in Sweden. To check out Erik’s work, click here. We will also hear from Keith Tribe and his co-editor Pat Hudson talk about their collected work called The Contradictions of Capital in the 21st century in which they build upon the renewed interest in the long run global development of wealth inequality stimulated by the publication of Piketty’s book Capital in the 21st Century.

To watch the TED talk video on inequality featured at the beginning, go here.

Featured music (apart from the usual intro and outro music): Sounds by Dave JF, Atmosphere 12, and Jordan Powell, Erokia.

Finally, thanks to David Philippy for helping with production.

Inequality: Part I, Episode 28

In this two part series on inequality, we will be talking about moments during the history of researching inequality. In this first part, we explore different ways people have thought about inequality and how it is measured, and the possible impacts that this thinking and measurement has on our economies and policies. In part two, to be released soon, we look at why and how inequality goes up and down depending on where we look.

Poornima Paidipaty and Pedro Ramos Pinto talk primarily about their special issue on The Measure of Inequality: Social Knowledge in Historical Perspective published in 2020 in the Historical of Political Economy Journal.

To check out Dan Hirschman’s approach to analysing how things are counted called knowledge infrastructures, see this article. He references the book A Vast Machine by Paul Edwards.

To find out more about Christian O. Christiansen’s project on historicising global inequality, check out their website. To check out his latest book, Talking About Inequality, click here.

Keith Tribe refers to Phelps Brown at the end, see his book here.

To watch the BBC Select video on the Occupy Movement featured at the beginning, go here. And the chant “We are the 99%” was taken from this video.

Featured music (apart from the usual intro and outro music): Sounds by Dave JF, Atmosphere 12, Alyonka, Kjartan Abel, Japan Sky and BaDoink, Acoustic E Minor Jam.

Finally, thanks to David Philippy for helping with production.

Book Panel Jan Tinbergen and the Rise of Economic Expertise, Episode 27

In this episode we present a book panel on the book Jan Tinbergen (1903-1994) and the Rise of Economic Expertise (CUP, 2021) by our regular host Erwin Dekker. Reinhard Schumacher provides a brief introduction to the panel which is chaired by Arjo Klamer, Professor of Cultural Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The panel opens with reflections on the book and the legacy of Jan Tinbergen, the first Nobel Prize winner in Economics and famous econometrician, by another Nobel Laureate James Heckman, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. The other panelists offer their reflections on the econometric and economic contributions of Tinbergen, and in particular his role as broker between academia and policy circles, a main argument of the book is that Tinbergen secured a permanent place for economic experts and models in policy circles. They also explore Tinbergen’s socialist convictions, his internationalism and dedication to peace, as well as his and their personal motivations to be an economist.

A cataclysm sentence for economics, Episode 26

  • Guests: Peter Bent, François Allisson, Herman Daly and Sara Stevano (see below for more information).
  • Host and Producer: Maria Bach, Centre Walras Pareto, Unil, Lasuanne (former Assistant Professor of Economics at the American University of Paris)
  • Guest hosts: Wilhelm Aminoff, Wyatt DeLong, Farrah Aridou, Jonathan Noulowe II and Paul Harding, students of a history of economics course at the American University of Paris.

Inspired by Radiolab’s episode on the cataclysm sentence, this episode explores whether we could find a cataclysm sentence for economics. Radiolab had found out about the famous and award winning physicist, Richard Feynman, who in the 60s wanted to revamp the physics undergraduate degree to get more researchers into physics. He started his course at Caltech with what he called the cataclysm sentence, which is:

“If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence was passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?”

We changed it a bit to apply only to economics:

“The one piece of economic knowledge that you would pass on to a future society if ours were to perish in a cataclysm.”

Along with students at the American University of Paris, we interviewed four people, an economic historian, an ecological economist, a feminist political economist and an historian of economics. Here is the list of their cataclysm sentences:

Peter Bent, Department of Economics, Trinity College, Connecticut, USA

Julie Nelson’s (UMass Boston) definition of economics: “The study of the ways societies organize themselves to provide for the survival and flourishing of life.”

Herman Daly, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, USA

“Although not reducible to biophysics, the human economy is nevertheless ecologically constrained, especially in its primary macroeconomic goal of aggregate growth, by the fact that it is a physical subsystem of a finite ecosphere that lives from a non growing  entropic flow of solar energy captured by scarce and depleting terrestrial materials.”

Sara Stevano, Department of Economics, The School of Oriental and African Studies, London

“Power relations are intrinsic to economic phenomena at multiple and interconnected scales.”

François Allisson, Centre Walras Pareto, Unil, Lausanne

“Economics was a temporary science
Necessary in times of perceived scarcity
To understand the ways
In which human needs
In various ways of organising human activities”

(pictured above)

While everyone had slightly different takes on the task and took us down different avenues of knowledge, there were several common themes. So fasten your seat belts, as we take you on a journey of discovery and at times a rather philosophical, utopic and radical discussion about what really matters.

Featured music (apart from the usual intro and outro music): Sounds by Jordan Powell, Erokia: