Monday, December 29, 2014

A new edition of The Economics Anti-Textbook?

One of the things I look forward to in 2015 is revising The Economics Anti-Textbook. We have submitted a proposal for the revision to Zed Books. If all goes well, a new edition should be ready about a year from now.

In the meantime, Tony Myatt and Brian MacLean are working on the first draft of The Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook. We're hoping that both books can be launched at the same time. Stay tuned.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide

Yes, it's official! Brian MacLean (of Laurentian University) and Tony Myatt (University of New Brunswick) have signed a contract with Zed Books for The Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide. The manuscript for the book should be finished next summer. It seems very likely that Tony and I will also be revising and updating The Economics Anti-Textbook, which will appear in a new edition.

When he heard the news, Robert Lucas scratched his head and muttered:
"The Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook?! What would that be about?!"


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A new review of The Economics Anti-Textbook

A nice review of The Economics Anti-Textbook by economist Mary Manning Cleveland in The Huffington Post, and reprinted widely on the web, it seems. Her blog is well worth a look.

I confess that I'm disappointed, but not too surprised, that no economics journal has reviewed the Anti-Textbook. Self-reflection is not our strong suit, it seems.

I find it a bit strange that most academic economists spend so much time on the teaching side of things, but so little time reflecting on it and discussing what we are doing with each other. Yes, quite a lot of time is spent collectively reviewing and 'fact-checking' the content of the textbooks, but (from my experience) almost all of that is done within the parameters that define what the conventional mainstream book will consist of. As well, the discussion that takes place is largely between the editors of large textbook companies and individual academics, not between academics themselves. It's not unusual or surprising to see large general conferences of academic economists without a single session devoted to what we are doing in the classroom or to the content of the texts the companies are producing.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"The story of stuff" -- a great resource for economics teachers and students

While reading George Monbiot's column (published in today's Guardian), I followed his footnote to this great site that I hadn't seen before: The Story of Stuff Project. I watched their first 20 minute video of the same name -- thought provoking stuff! Perfect to show to my introductory economic class next term just after they've read the chapter on 'resource maintenance' and are doing the one on consumption and consumerism (in Microeconomics in Context, by Goodwin, Nelson, Ackerman, & Weisskopf).

There's a series of other videos, all with annotated transcripts freely available, where sources and more background information is given. A great resource!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stiglitz on growing inequality and its consequences

A great talk by Joseph Stiglitz (@Google) about his new book The Price of Inequality. He points out the useless nature of marginal productivity theory in determining the huge rewards enjoyed by some, how there is no correspondence between 'contribution to society' and the large fortunes at the top, which, he contends, also have a good deal to do with plundering those lower down on the food chain. (OK, he phrases it more diplomatically, calling it 'rent seeking'.)

Stiglitz@Google, 2012

Compared to the wealth of information like this that is available to today's undergraduate economics students, I feel like I was living in the stone age when I was a student in the 1970s. I hope their instructors are helping them to find such gems. Perhaps it's one of the best contributions we can make to their education.