Our 0.2 of a professor doesn’t even understand the word “macroeconomics”

Tuesday is teaching day.

Today is macroeconomics of the real world.

In a nutshell: what do you want the government to do?

Big, or small?

Active, or passive?

And does it really have a choice when it comes to it in a modern economy?

All the rest is footnotes.

And the political wash in political economy.

What the distinguished 0.2 of a professor at City University has just described is of course microeconomics.


Macroeconomics (from the Greek prefix makro- meaning “large” and economics) is a branch of economics dealing with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole, rather than individual markets. This includes national, regional, and global economies.[1][2] With microeconomics, macroeconomics is one of the two most general fields in economics.

Macroeconomists study aggregated indicators such as GDP, unemployment rates, and price indices, and the interrelations among the different sectors of the economy, to better understand how the whole economy functions. Macroeconomists develop models that explain the relationship between such factors as national income, output, consumption, unemployment, inflation, savings, investment, international trade and international finance. In contrast, microeconomics is primarily focused on the actions of individual agents, such as firms and consumers, and how their behavior determines prices and quantities in specific markets

While macroeconomics is a broad field of study, there are two areas of research that are emblematic of the discipline: the attempt to understand the causes and consequences of short-run fluctuations in national income (the business cycle), and the attempt to understand the determinants of long-run economic growth (increases in national income). Macroeconomic models and their forecasts are used by governments to assist in the development and evaluation of economic policy.

Double sigh:

Microeconomics (from Greek prefix mikro- meaning “small”) is a branch of economics that studies the behavior of individuals and firms in making decisions regarding the allocation of limited resources.[1] Typically, it applies to markets where goods or services are bought and sold. Microeconomics examines how these decisions and behaviors affect the supply and demand for goods and services, which determines prices, and how prices, in turn, determine the quantity supplied and quantity demanded of goods and services.[2][3]

This is in contrast to macroeconomics, which involves the “sum total of economic activity, dealing with the issues of growth, inflation, and unemployment.”[2] Microeconomics also deals with the effects of national economic policies (such as changing taxation levels) on the aforementioned aspects of the economy.

How large government is, how active, what it does, these are all microeconomic questions, not macroeconomic.

Those students are really getting value for money, aren’t they?

41 thoughts on “Our 0.2 of a professor doesn’t even understand the word “macroeconomics””

  1. or even Public Economics


    I don’t actually think this a micro – government spending and taxation can be analysed as aggregates like consumption, investment etc. Government policy also major ingredient in core macro concern of stabilising output. Questions about the size of government also a matter of aggregating the preferences of individuals –
    which imo sits somewhere in between micro and macro.

  2. I would have thought as Luis implies that government policy regarding aggregates (GDP, balance of payments, so on) is Macro.

    Anyway, haven’t they both been superceded by Murphynomics anyway?

  3. The Murphatollah likes use the phrase “about/of/in the real world” as his get-out. When challenged, his response is often that he – the great economic genius that he is – is talking about “the real world”, which of course is not real but exists only in his twisted little mind.

  4. Slight aside: I was taught econ in university by a Greek lecturer. His accent was considerable, to the point where no one could tell if he was saying ‘micro’ or ‘macro’ economics. This complicated the task of separating out which topics belonged to which theme.

  5. “In a nutshell: what do you want the government to do? …
    All the rest is footnotes.”

    I would take this as a statement that Macroeconomics does exist but that the only part that matters is what the government does. There is the possibility of a coherent argument in this line of thinking but Murphy hasn’t found it yet. Luckily his magic money tree will allow him to put in the idiotic policies to prove it.

  6. How is the security in Universities these days? In my day in would have been a piece of piss to have rolled up to his lectures with no-one paying a blind bit of notice, thence to begin heckling and ridiculing him with random shouts of

    “candidly that is arrant nonsense”
    “you are wasting my time”
    “clearly you don’t live in the real world”
    “only a neoliberal on the far right could hold such a view”

    and, to finish

    “you are contributing nothing to the debate here and so are banned, forthwith”

  7. I think that in the vein of saving the world from the murphmonster you should enroll on his course. Go on. I dare you.

  8. I think you’ll find that that spelling has been superceded.

    Actually, ‘superceded’ dates back to the 16thC, IIRC. It was replaced by ‘superseded’ in the 18thC, as philologists realised it derived from super + sedere (Latin) and ‘supersederer’ (Old French). And the OED still lists ‘supersede’ as the primary usage.

  9. On this whole pendantry with spelling, since we’re fortunate not to have an Academie Francaise standing behind with whips, does it really matter? Since English spelling’s such a pig’s ear of assorted roots (plus a penchant for contrived French constructions of perfectly adequate Anglo-Saxon because they looked better with more curly bits) as long as you know what it means, what’s the problem? An ess or a soft cee? English uses both without any particular favoritism. The argument for supersede is it comes from the Latin- supersedere – to sit above – superior. But we use it in the sense of to supplant. Which is closer to – to go (instead of) – cedere. Maybe the Romans would have spelt it with a cee, if they meant what we mean. in locum succedo


  10. …since we’re fortunate not to have an Academie Francaise standing behind with whips, does it really matter?

    Yes. Because standards matter; and I prefer gradual change to a linguistic free-for-all. The AF is prescriptive; the OED is descriptive and historical. And, perhaps, therein is a clue to the nature and probable destiny of two nations.

  11. “Yes. Because standards matter”
    Whose standards?
    “I prefer gradual change ”
    But that’s no change at all.

  12. Standards in spelling matter because they make it easier to recognise words. When people spelled words as they felt fit and punctuated according to their own personal rules, as in the 16thc and before, it makes comprehension more difficult. When people write “supercede”, I just think oh dear do you also write “potatoe”? In other fields standards matter because that is how we expect people to behave – eg it is not acceptable for men to walk around with their flies open. That sort of thing. And standards change – 70 years ago, everyone would wear a hat when out of the house. Not so common these days. These days, a lot of men don’t wear ties. Ten years ago, grown men started wearing shirts not tucked in. No one told us, just things change. You don’t have to go along with the trends – the untucked shirt thing, to my mind was and is just stupid. Other people have different levels of tolerance.

  13. @diogenes
    We are of the small & decreasing minority on the planet who speak english, who happen to be British. The language is changing. It’ll change whether you like it or not. We don’t own it.

  14. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    We are of the small & decreasing minority on the planet who speak english, who happen to be British. The language is changing. It’ll change whether you like it or not. We don’t own it.

    The brilliance of the English language is exemplified by the ease with which poor speakers of the language can be understood by other poor speakers; thus can the Romanian speak to the Somalian and the Geordie to the Scouse.

    However, the educated Englishman still bears a duty to at least try to maintain the inner beauty of the language, and to set the standard to which non-native speakers can aspire.

    And whilst of course we don’t own it, it does feel incumbent on me to point out that capitalising British but not english is truly nonsensical. That’s not the language changing, it’s just being wrong.

    But I do understand your point that we shouldn’t be precious about it; some non-natives speak a beautiful, pure English tongue, untainted by regional inflexion or class signifier. Indeed, he finest novelist in English is probably the Pole, Josef Conrad. IMHO, of course.

  15. I have acknowledged that language changes. However, I don’t see the need to introduce, for example, the lack of definite and indefinite articles in Slavic languages just to make Slavic immigrants feel at home. If we do not keep up standards, then soon we will not understand English.

  16. Theo

    I ,sit confess when I read one of his replies saying ‘Shall we deal in reality?’ Or some such phrasing I do find it hard not to laugh out loud. He is so divorced from the real world it is hard to imagine he actually exists, except as some nightmarish apparition from the pen of a satirist…..

  17. “it does feel incumbent on me to point out that capitalising British but not english is truly nonsensical.”
    For me now, habit, because in the languages I’m using these days, adjectives don’t take the capital. (“english, in this case, being a contraction of “english language”) And, of course, much less nonsensical. It applying to neither a person, nor a nation.

  18. @diogenes
    I’m teaching english in the same way as I might write spanish because english is quite illogical enough without adding random capitalisations to it. Do you really right French windows? I never have. Spanish don’t write Persianas.either.
    And I’ve found capitalisations tend to f**k up translation software. You get some weird outcomes.
    Interestingly, you talk about the lack of definite & indefinite articles in slavic languages. But english has itself abandoned a lot of its articles, unlike the french & germanic languages it’s derived from. We tend to leave the noun unadorned when we’re not being specific.
    Languages change.

  19. ‘I teach the Varoufakis way’

    Fortunately, Murphy’s political influence lasted even less time than Varoufakis’s.

  20. don’t look for logic in language, BiS – just look for the unofficial conventions or rules. I write French windows because that is the convention in English. I hope in turn that you are leading a campaign doing away with things such as apocopation in Spanish – 100=ciento but 100 books = cien libros – and the differences between San and Santo.

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