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?
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 Capitalin 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.
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.
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.
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:
“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.”
“Economics was a temporary science Necessary in times of perceived scarcity To understand the ways In which human needs Translated 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.