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Basil Oberholzer

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Basil Oberholzer

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Phil Armstrong

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Phil Armstrong

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Basil Oberholzer

Global capitalism as we face it today has deprived countries of their autonomy in making economic policy decisions. This is even more true for small economies such as developing countries. If they want a chance to provide their populations with acceptable living conditions, they need to regain their scope of action. In particular, countries must be able to defend themselves against devastating macroeconomic events such as capital flight and currency crises. This book has delivered arguments for how poor countries may design macroeconomic strategies to foster economic development. After removing the external constraint and getting the system for their international payments right, developing countries are able to direct the domestic economy. Taxation and social expenditures on the one hand, but mainly public investment on the other hand, are important instruments to bring about economic prosperity and poverty reduction. With the reform of international payments, they can unfold their full potential because they no longer trigger exchange rate volatility, nor do they involve a drag on domestic demand caused by the twofold payment of imports and interest on foreign debt. No doubt, there are gaps in the analysis. It was argued at the beginning that inequality is an important factor determining both objective and subjective poverty. Yet, it has not been systematically integrated into the theoretical analysis. At least, however, the potential of economic policy to influence income distribution, be it by taxation and social transfers or by the public sector’s (intentional) impact on the labor market, has been highlighted. There is a sketch of how a development strategy can also direct the share of total income going to labor. This can be emphasized further, particularly regarding the harmful impact of inequality on a society’s health and violence. Poverty is a multidimensional issue to which this book cannot do justice. But a macroeconomically sound system is necessary to even think about how to reduce it.

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Geoff Harcourt

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Sheila Dow

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Phil Armstrong

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Phil Armstrong

Some optimistic heterodox economists felt that the effects of the global financial crisis might open the door for a new approach capable of providing a better understanding of how a monetary production economy works. However, this hope quickly evaporated as mainstream economists regained their confidence and the orthodox paradigm reasserted its ascendency, albeit in a slightly modified form. Three questions follow; first, how was mainstream economics able to maintain its hegemony? Second, is it nevertheless feasible that the mainstream paradigm could be challenged in the foreseeable future? Third, do heterodox economists have enough in common to work together as part of a coherent alternative approach? In a series of in-depth interviews with leading economists from different schools; Austrian, monetarist, New-Keynesian, Post-Keynesian, Modern Monetary Theory, Marxist, Sraffian and Institutionalist, as well as policy–makers, the book aims to shed light upon the behaviour of economists and the sociology of the economics profession by enabling economists to express their views on a wide range of issues. I hope to provide a stimulating resource for researchers who are interested in understanding the pre-suppositions that underpin the way key thinkers theorise and to reveal the opinions of key thinkers regarding the most important issues that the discipline might address going forward.

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Basil Oberholzer

When popular Michael Manley took office as the Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1972, the country suffered from high illiteracy, unemployment and poverty. In the two decades before, the private sector had proven not to be able to guarantee long-term economic and social development. The government was expected to initiate change and steer growth (Davis, 1986, p. 77). Immediately after his election, Manley started the program he had promised: among other measures, a minimum wage was established; his land reform redistributed farmland to small-scale farmers; education at all levels became free; adult education programs reduced illiteracy. Did the story end as a success? To finance the program, the government ran high budget deficits that were mainly financed by foreign capital flows. The government expanded, while support for the private sector was reduced. This prompted capital flight (Shams, 1989, p. 75). Capital leaving the country meant currency devaluation, inflation, and economic contraction. Violence spread over the country. Manley lost his election in 1980.