Friday, 1 April 2011
Crises of Capitalism
For a while I have been interested in hearing the responses of economists to the seemingly widespread anger that society helds against the profession. Economists, many say, have failed society because they failed to predict and prevent the financial crisis that we are now suffering. I do not have yet a fully articulated response to that anger but let me say that two things are clear to me now: 1) Society has a distorted view of what Economics is about and what economists do 2) and that that is not society´s fault but mostly ours as economists because we have been often too shy and sometimes too arrogant to reply back.
Above all, we as economists should not be dismissive of society's arguments nor of arguments coming from "heterodox" or "critical" thinkers such as David Harvey, a Professor of Anthropology at CUNY, with a distinguished career as a social theorist. I wanted to show you this video in which one of Harvey's lectures on the crises of capitalism is illustrated as he speaks. The video is interesting for several reasons. One, because it is very nicely done. Second, because the first half makes a very nice summary of the arguments put forward as explanations of the financial crisis. And finally, because he proposes several arguments, probably wrong, but that can help to ignite some debate. As I said, I do not think that we should dismiss his ideas just because he is a marxist. We should reply with sensibility, arguments and evidence. And I would like to hear your views on it.