So, Steve Keen then

A professor of economics has turned to crowdfunding to pay his salary because universities “no longer provide the time and freedom they once gave to original thinkers”.

Steve Keen, who is currently employed full time at Kingston University but expects to remain there next year on a quarter-time basis only, hopes to raise enough money via the Patreon website to enable him to continue his work as a public intellectual.

He is initially hoping to raise $10,000 (£8,232) a month, which he says would allow him to work full time on the third edition of his book, Debunking Economics, plus a series of papers, and to continue producing videos for his YouTube channel, which has more than 10,000 subscribers.

Well, good luck to him, obviously. Although there is that slight question of why he’s not using more traditional methods. Say, gaining an advance for that book on economics. Heterodox is a pretty successful area these days, I’m told that Ritchie’s last (not current) went into 5 figures in sales. Tim Harford is approaching a couple of million on his first. And Keen’s hardly unknown in that heterodox world.

He’s also a contributor at Forbes and I know very well that a decent living can be made there.

Fun comment at that link through:

One might almost suggest that he is motivated by self-interest. But mainstream economics has been debunked yes? What a puzzlement…

19 comments on “So, Steve Keen then

  1. Ha! first comment on this blog appears to be – “personally i think that George Osborne is currently screaming with glee”

  2. > people willing to commit an average of $3 to $5 a month for access to lecture slides and e-books

    Three problems with this business model:
    1) There’s a lot of free content already available; and there’s no shortage of paid content in the form of books, magazines, etc.
    2) Micro-subscriptions don’t work. I pay £7.99/mo for Netflix that gives me access to a curated library of professionally-made works; I’m not going to pay £3/mo to watch one person’s output, even though I might well one day choose to pay £7.99/mo for an ad-free YouTube, and some of that money might end up in Mr Keen’s pocket.
    3) I fear the principle. If I pay Keen £3/mo, soon every other amateur blogger will be demanding their pound of flesh.

    Steve’s idea might – only might – work if he teams up with a bunch of fellow economists and they all contribute to a monthly e-zine, with a range of voices and opinions. They could even charge more for it – the Economist costs about £12/mo on subscription. But alone it isn’t achievable.

  3. The pay rates there wouldn’t give you £96k a year, no matter how senior you were on the Professorial (Senior Staff) pay scale.

  4. Didn’t the surprisingly popular blogger, dodgy meme-generator and would-be intellectual “Another Angry Voice” try a similar trick?

    (His trick as far as I understand was to be very big – very shareable – on Facebook, rather than the www. FB is like a web unto itself.)

  5. “He is initially hoping to raise $10,000 (£8,232) a month, which he says would allow him to work full time on the third edition of his book,”

    I should certainly fucking hope so. We have freaking Generals that barely get to take home that kind of dosh.

  6. From the article

    “If you go back 40 years, Cambridge had a range of economic perspectives being taught,” Professor Keen said. “Now students are only taught a single neoclassical paradigm. The most prestigious universities have been captured by the mainstream.”

    Isn’t this what we’d expect in any subject? That there’s competing ideas and over time, we collect evidence and figure out what is the best or right range of answers? We don’t teach kids the alternative paradigm that lightning comes from Thor’s mighty hammer because we collected evidence about how lightning worked and there is no long haired demigod causing it.

  7. BiW,

    we would like to think that the best ideas bubble to the surface but that is not necessarily so, there are always vested interests pricking the bubbles before they can gather momentum so that the horse they backed comes out as the winner.

    $8000 seems a lot to me, does he not get an income from the ads shown on his youtube videos ?

  8. Eight thousand pounds a month? To write a blog and work on Das Kapital’s retarded little brother?

    Nice work if you can get it.

    I look forward to Professor Keen experiencing exactly how much the market values his work. I mean, I know it will be our fault, philistines that we are, that the market does not properly appreciate him, but I look forward to his rationalisation.

  9. So he receives a quarter of a Professor’s full-time salary at Kingston Poly, his contributor’s fees at Forbes, he no doubt has other sources of income but he still needs £8,200 per month. Hopefully, he’s going to learn a lesson about supply e.g. he’s surplus to requirements.

  10. I love how he puts down 10,000 YouTube subscribers, like that’s an impressive figure.

    Err, no. Come back when you’re in six figures.

  11. To be fair, I would suggest 10,000 subscribers is quite high for what I’m assuming is a series of economics lectures.

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