Economics for Everyone

Economic concepts and theories shape many aspects of our lives, yet most citizens have little knowledge of economics, which constrains their ability to fully understand and evaluate many of the big issues of our age. While one can pursue the study of economics through the conventional channels, all too often the curriculum encountered is far too intellectually and ideologically narrow. This six-week course explains the big ideas in economics, including some very important dissenting and alternative ideas. The focus is on plurality, interdisciplinary and relevance to the pressing demands of the real-world.

Tim Thornton has lectured in economics at Australian Universities for over ten years. He wrote his PhD on the evolution of economics teaching in Australian universities, and is an award-winning teacher.

When: Thursdays from 21st February 2013, 6.30 – 8pm
Venue: The Alderman, 134 Lygon St Brunswick East
Co-ordinator: Tim Thornton

week 1

21.2.13

Mainstream Economics: Strengths and limitations
Tim Thornton
Economics is unique in the social sciences for being characterized by a dominant orthodoxy and the institutional marginalization of alternative approaches. This lecture explains the nature of this orthodoxy, with a keen eye to both its usefulness and its limitations.

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week 2

28.2.13

Boom, Bust and Unemployment: Macroeconomics and the ideas of JM Keynes
Tim Thornton
This lecture is an introduction to macroeconomics and the ideas of J M Keynes. While it is often claimed that Keynes ideas have been absorbed intomainstream economics, it will be shown in this lecture that his most important insights remain either largely ignored or totally distorted.

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week 3

7.3.13

Financial Instability: The GFC and Hyman Minsky
Tim Thornton
In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis there has been a renewed interest in the work of Hyman Minsky. This lecture explain Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis.

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week 4

14.3.13

Economic Growth and the Social Structures of Accumulation
Tim Thornton
This lecture examines the nature of growth from a Social Structures of Accumulation perspective, seeking to understand growth and decline in the global economy.

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week 5

21.3.13

The Many Schools of Modern Political Economy
Tim Thornton
This lecture surveys the many schools of economics that make up modern political economy: institutionalism and evolutionary economics; Post-Keynesianism; Marxism; feminist economics; ecological economics and Austrian economics.

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Note: Due to technical difficulties, the audio in this recording is of poor quality for the first 3 and a half minutes, but improves significantly. Hang in there.

week 6

28.3.13

Wither Capitalism?
Tim Thornton
What sort of political, social and economic systems are appropriate for the 21st century? What sort of economy can address problems of environmental constraint and increasing inequality and lead to a more flourishing and cohesive society? Is it a case of refining existing economic and political institutions or is more comprehensive change required?

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