My word, that didn’t take long!

The piece was written last week, although minorly updated last night, and is my first comment as Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University on The Conversation site, which was reserved exclusively for academics.

I can hear the ego expanding from a thousand miles away. I is an academic, don’cha kno’?

Interesting:

City University London provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation UK.

Ie, we’ve paid to have this gubbins put up here.

And it is quite lovely too. The opening line:

As the creator of what has come to be known as Corbynomics, my ideas on what is now known as People’s Quantitative Easing, progressive taxation, tackling the tax gap and other matters caused quite a stir in the Labour leadership race.

Can ermine be far behind?

In the real world of political economy that I wish to explore with my students in due course, there are three big themes.

What economists choose to measure and how useful it is to measure these things.

The way those measures are constructed and what they are intended to communicate.

The role of economists in this process: what is their background or ideology that may influence their behaviour, and what might they have chosen to omit from consideration as a result?

Given that he doesn’t know anything at all about 1) and 2) my guess is the course will be heavy on 3).

Recall, for instance, his insistence that economists predict income maximisation, rather than what they do predict, utility maximisation.

It is my belief that there is no form of measurement, whether economic or (as importantly) in accounting, that is value-free. The choice of what we measure frames the debates we have. And the tools we use and the options they accept or reject are entirely subjective.

So no need to have any foot or base in objective reality then. This is all very PoMo, isn’t it?

My point is that it is clear that the economist is not an objective observer. His or her decisions necessarily affect the real world: the very act of measurement itself has an impact.

Very quantum.

What astonishes me, in that case, is how little work by so many UK academics in the fields of economics, accounting and tax has any chance of achieving that impact. It is not, it seems, ever designed to reach out to those who might have the chance to effect change by making use of it.

It is my hope that this is an issue that a new Labour leader might address. If the Labour leadership campaign has proved anything it is that there is need for a change in economic thinking if those policies to be offered in 2020 by all parties – but most especially those on the left – are to resonate with people anxious for change.

What also seems very obvious, is that politics is not, at present, either the source or repository for that thinking. In that case, the chance for meaningful dialogue between academia and Labour does at this moment appear to be high, and with it the prospect of real, impactful, engagement.

That is why I hope a new Labour leader will reach out to academia and positively invite new ideas, research, thinking, dialogue and so policy formulation. Now is the time for this. The politicians and academics involved all have until 2020 to achieve a result. There is a desperate need for an economics of the real world that is quite deliberately intended to change not just measurement, but reality.

Gissa job Jezza!

And he wants economics to be normative now, does he? How cute of the little Ritchie that is! Might we not ask that he grasps the positive aspects first?

52 thoughts on “My word, that didn’t take long!”

  1. Do I detect a little plagiarism there. Wasn’t it Stiglitz who said “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”?

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    “That is why I hope a new Labour leader will reach out to academia and positively invite new ideas, research, thinking, dialogue and so policy formulation.”

    Left wing Governments have a track record of reaching out to academia, but is usually to tell them to STFU, or else – if they are lucky.

  3. “Capitalism and free markets have raised living standards and brought billions out of poverty. Conventional economics would consider that a good thing. But capitalism and free markets are evil. Therefore we must be measuring things wrongly.”

  4. My goodness. What a gift Murphy has for playing pat-a-cake with tendentious non-sequiturs.

    Perhaps his students will be able to follow his own example and have a improved understanding of economics by dint of not attending his lectures.

  5. “Perhaps his students will be able to follow his own example and have a improved understanding of economics by dint of not attending his lectures.”

    However, in their case it’s perhaps better to learn zero by not attending rather than un-learning in his lectures.

  6. In fact “minorly” is such a rebarbative neologism that bloody Safari replaced it by “minority”. Which just goes to show.

  7. Oh City, what have you done? I have friends who were proud to be alumni.

    ps, Andrew K: Stiglitz? It’s the final line from Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach.

  8. He sounds exactly what he is. A retired accountant who blogs. It’s as if thinking about what and how colonic metrics gets measured hasn’t been thought about before.

    I suspect this course will be A-level standard as doesn’t know what is actually expected in the real academic world. Who gave him this job?

  9. Rob

    As discussed on an earlier post, with academic economists, you would need to be a Mervyn King or Alec Cairncross to do justice to the syllabus. From his writings, the LHTD is not even at A-level standard. The selection process must have been “interesting”.

  10. Reminds me of Laurie Penny: about three weeks into her Harvard jamboree, she was lecturing people on Twitter about her being a Journalism Fellow at Harvard.

    For all their noise to the contrary, the left love a good class system.

  11. I had put this on an earlier thread, but it’s better here – do you think Richard’s ‘was reserved exclusively for academics’ is a tacit admission that he isn’t one?

  12. This reads like the usual lefty take on Post Modernism. Reality does not allow me to prove I am right but I am right so reality must be wrong. I’ll just redefine it….

    Can’t really blame them… you probably wouldn’t thank your subconscious for alowing you to suddenly realise that you’ve been making a twat of yourself for decades.

  13. ” There is a desperate need for an economics of the real world that is quite deliberately intended to change not just measurement, but reality.”

    In other words if reality doesn’t match my beliefs, it must be reality that’s wrong. Fetch the men in white coats.

  14. How the hell did Ritchie get a job as a Professor with no prior academic experience, no teaching qualification, no PhD and not even a masters degree? He might have given a few guest lectures but that doesn’t qualify him to be a professor. It is like making someone who has a First Aid Certificate a brain surgeon!

    Ritchie is of course opposed to unqualified (i.e. not unionised) teachers in the state sector. Hypocrisy might as well be his middle name.

  15. Worth looking at the recent Research Excellence Framework 2014 assessment of Economics & Econometrics at City University London.

    Various aspects of research since 2008 were graded by expert panels of academics specialising in the relevant subjects. Overall, City were not the worst in the UK but they were way behind the best.

    Research was rated as 4* (world-leading), 3* (internationally excellent but falling short of the highest standards), 2* (recognised internationally), 1* (recognised nationally), and U (failing in originality, significance or rigour, or not recognised as research).

    It was noticeable that City tied with Sheffield for the distinction of having the highest proportion of its research in economics rated U.

    Ratings were based on outputs, environment and impact of research. None of City’s research environment in economics was rated as world-leading, and an astonishing 40% of the impact of its research was rated U: a figure exceeded only by Social Work at Chester; Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science at Writtle College; Art & Design at Writtle College; Architecture at Bolton; Computer Science & Informatics at Chester; General Engineering at Southampton Solent; Business & Management at York St John; and Communication, Cultural and Media Studies at Leeds Trinity.

    You may never have heard of some of those places, for good reason.

    For the great majority of departments in most subjects the percentage of impact graded U (I repeat, failing in originality, significance or rigour, or not recognised as research) is zero.

    Yes, Professor Murphy should fit in beautifully in the Department of Economics at City University.

  16. “It is like making someone who has a First Aid Certificate a brain surgeon!”

    FFS, don’t say that: he’ll be down thr St John’s by lunchtime and working on Arnauld’s prefrontal cortex by Thursday

  17. Depressingly the advocate of mass murder Ivan Horrocks has reappeared on this thread on TRUK to babble on about how there is a need to ‘purge’ the system of ‘Neoliberal’ elements – can show trials be far off the agenda? Listening to the ‘New Shadow Chancellors’ comments I think that’s a strong possibility……

  18. “There is a desperate need for an economics of the real world that is quite deliberately intended to change not just measurement, but reality.”

    Corbyn/Murphy intend fascist control the economy. There will be a steady stream of justifications from them for the next few years.

  19. “Corbyn/Murphy intend fascist control the economy”

    Because they themselves falsely see Fascism as an extension of Conservatism, they really, really seem to have no idea when they propose things that could be straight out of Germany anno 1935.

    And then get uppity when others point out that you can hardly get a fag packet between Soviet and Nazi/Fascist economics when viewed from the outside: in essence, what to us are minor doctrinal differences (how much should be state-owned vs. just state-controlled; what groups are being oppressed and why; why the state-run trades union DAF was like so totally different to the State-run All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions in the USSR) are to them vitally important and so important that it puts Mussolini and Hitler over with the libertarians and tories.

  20. Is there no beginning to his modesty?

    aje says:
    September 14 2015 at 11:02 am
    The Conversation site, which was reserved exclusively for academics
    I don’t understand what you mean here, please could you clarify?

    Richard Murphy says:
    September 14 2015 at 11:04 am
    You can only write if you are an appointed academic.

  21. I have just posted a comment on “The Coversation UK” website:
    Andrew K
    logged in via Twitter
    As a matter of interest, can contributors here block and/or delete comments, if they are (say) abusive or neoliberal?

  22. Andrew

    Murph cannot control comments on that blog. You can follow, for example, the equally shocking Prof Lewandowsky there. He never replies to comments but is unable to erase the general impression of being incompetent, delusional, and mendacious.

  23. So Much For Subtlety

    Charles – “Oh City, what have you done? I have friends who were proud to be alumni”

    Ziauddin Sardar? Ali Dizaei? Connie St Louis?

    How much more of a dump does it have to be?

  24. Diogenes
    I had guessed that; I just wanted to bring it to Professor Murphy’s attention.
    I have fond memories of the mauling he received on Jolyon Maugham’s blog, and was hoping to stir his nostalgia too.
    Have fun chaps!

  25. VP

    That’s a pity about Ivan Horrocks. Given his absence for a while, I had hoped he had expired.

    One can but hope that Murphy and his grotesquely expanding ego will go the way of Mr Creosote

  26. Can’t seem to see comments on mobile site, will have to wait until later.
    Did notice though

    “Want to write?

    Write an article and join a growing community of more than 25,800 academics and researchers from 1,322 institutions.

    Register now”

    So maybe not as exclusive as he claims

    Interesting he still claims to be the sole author of corbynomics despite statements from these himself that he was just one of many, also in his profile he lists himself as an adviser to Corbyn, which is surely a political role in terms of his grants.

  27. There’s some serious intellects there, Viv Dawson begins thus

    Speaking as a person who has no economic knowledge

    And then goes on to prove it.

  28. André WK

    “I have fond memories of the mauling he received on Jolyon Maugham’s blog”

    Jesus you must have a boring life

    Diogenes (seriously, Diogenes? You daft trumpet, shitting himself in a barrel?)

    “and the abuse starts to pile in on Ally….ad hom”

    Are you fucking stupid?

    And really, if you want to be heard as a reaction, trolling and being juvenile will get you nowhere. Get yourself publish in MSM, be a part of a successful movement, and stick your neck out.

    Worstall’s blog means fuck all to anyone. Worstall remains a useless, retired mouthpiece for a bunch or twats that can’t even beat the dead lib-dems.

    Not liking and fisking, maybe you’re right in a technical sense, but Godwin shits on your life and renders it as pissing in the wind.

    Politics is airtime. The likes of fucking failure-in-chief fcablog and the bitter Noel Scoper have absolutely nothing to contribute but abuse, and you lot spazzing inanely with the irrelevant “Timmy” (mummy oh mummy) are little more than Mr Ecks, or more amusingly, SMBS, destined for your comfortable pension.

    And someone else calling themselves Theoprastus? Jumped up. Ridiculous.

  29. Cleospastic

    Why advertise your stupidity? I thought this blog was a libertarian gathering. It appears the rancour on here borders a deep-seated sociopathy against anyone that disagrees with it.

  30. “It is my belief that there is no form of measurement, whether economic or (as importantly) in accounting, that is value-free.”

    Joan Robinson discusses this in her ‘Economic Philosophy’, IIRC. That x is not value-free doesn’t mean x is subjective. Economists can decide about the normative aspects of theories or metrics by comparing their accuracy in explaining and predicting economic events.

  31. Arnald Laurence Sybian – You are ridiculous and risible, deranged and despicable. If this blog is so worthless, why not go elsewhere? Or at least engage in rational argument. Now, run along and get on your auto-sodomy machine.

  32. They have a corrections section on the site-could be interesting.
    Just in the opening paragraph his assertion of sole authorship of corbynomics has been refuted by Corbyn himself who described him as one of many.

  33. Pasta

    Whoa, hold your fantasy there. I wonder why you call yourself Theophrastus and then you imagine Sybian.

    I like your little rhyming and rhythm, “ridiculous and risible, deranged and despicable”, but surely as a libertarian, what I do behind closed doors has nothing to do with you.

    My insults anymore don’t require scaring those fucking horses. And the fact fact that you keep using the same device (have you tried it? Don’t.) shows a lack of imagination. I guess you accidentally came across it whilst doing some late night surfing.

    Can’t you understand that by stating “f this blog is so worthless, why not go elsewhere” you are expressing censorship without the power to enact it?

    I’m not even trolling Worstall. He only really cares about feminists and abortion. the Ragging…stuff is just exasperated piffle. Also I do gain some knowledge. It’s subjective but it’s knowledge.

  34. Arnie,

    give yourself a break, have a glass of water.

    The ragging stuff is jolly amusing by any standards and it’s made all the funnier by Richard Murphy’s vulnerability and self-love.

    You’d need to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

  35. Arnald – “Can’t you understand that by stating “f this blog is so worthless, why not go elsewhere” you are expressing censorship without the power to enact it?”

    That is an interesting concept. Why is suggesting you would be happier elsewhere, an observable fact by the way, an act of censorship?

    “I’m not even trolling Worstall. He only really cares about feminists and abortion.”

    Oh please. *I* only care about feminists and abortion. TW is not one of my sock puppets. Everything I have seen suggests TW hardly cares about those issues at all. He is an actual liberal and, as far as I know, he supports abortion being safe, legal and rare.

    The Meissen Bison – “The ragging stuff is jolly amusing by any standards and it’s made all the funnier by Richard Murphy’s vulnerability and self-love.”

    Although this blog has become very Ritchie-centric. Days go by when Ritchie provides all the content, or close to it.

    The self-love I would agree with you about. But Ritchie is going to have his David Ickes moment when he realises the audience is laughing at him, not with him. I agree he is vulnerable and I think he is not going to deal with it well. We ought to be a little more careful of handling the mentally fragile.

  36. Arnald is off his chump tonight (as if the fuckwit was ever on his chump) high on drugs and the BluLab-assisted success of this rotten-toothed hero.

    As for an auto-pleasure machine he isn’t bright enough to figure out which of his orifices to stick it in. He would require a committee of comrades to approve his choice and vet it for racism and white privet-hedge.

  37. “Laurence Sybian “–the cunt calls himself Laurence Sybian??

    A legacy of his time as water pistol champion of Fire Island perhaps?

    Or just the stupidest handle he could find through the haze of Thorazine, meths and Night Nurse?

    Is it Psi-ban or Say-bien ? We need to know just in case we want to club together to get him a talking tombstone.

  38. Considering he is (supposedly) a Professor at City University, Richard Murphy does not appear to have much of a profile on their website. He should have a personal page under his departmental web page surely?

    This is what I googled:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=“richard+murphy”+site%3Acity.ac.uk

    These are all just references to him having spoken at past events, or citing his “research”.

    Maybe someone should tell City University. Compare the case of Karol Sikora

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2009/may/22/karol-sikora-honorary-professor-imperial-college

  39. Hi Larry,

    Sorry I missed your mention last night. I’ve been following Ritchie almost since he started blogging. One day, I’ll sit you down and tell you a story about why I think Murphy is a hypocrite, a liar, a bullshitter, a Walter Mitty character and generally a dangerous, mendacious cunt. In the meantime, watch how fast he decouples from Corbyn when it all goes to shit. I’ve bulk ordered Julia’s popcorn!

  40. Scooper

    So what? I’m betting you are too. Some shit-wank finance work.

    Ecks you dick, my name is Lawrence, have you got the balls to tell me who are?

    If it pleases your extremist nonsense then yeah, I am Laurence Sybian.

    You twat. And a dick. Auto-fucker.

  41. In fact Scoper, does one not to be in the industry of tax fucking to know about tax fucking?

    Next you’ll be saying that people in education or health have no place wondering how it goes wrong.

    You are bitter. Murphy has played his cards far better than one would expect.

    I await your presence on the telly, blustering, pathetically blustering.

    Or will you rely on the shitheads at the IEA. Knob.

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