New Economics – alternative models to crash, boom and bust.

Crash, Boom and Bust may sound like a punk band that never quite made the big time. But in economics, unfortunately, they are still on a world tour.

I’ve blogged before on the new ideas in economic theories, and the efforts of students at the University of Manchester to get official recognition for these new approaches by having these ideas taught as optional modules on their course. As The Guardian newspaper reports today (link below) one year on, these new ideas are still facing some academic resistance.

The classic example is that road accidents are economically “good things”. More work for car repair garages. More work for doctors and nurses. More work for the police. Everyone is a winner, according to traditional economists. Except the people who were in the car, cycling or crossing the road, but their awful experience literally doesn’t count, because it puts no new money in the till.

And therefore new economics also looks at and counts factors such as environmental degradation, inequalities, development, fair trade, fuel poverty, food banks, and the value of nurturing and caring.

So well done to these students for persevering with trying to broaden a course, hopefully one day preparing the next generation of economists to be able to do more than just get jobs running last year’s Excel spreadsheets for a merchant bank.


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