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Money, Distribution and Economic Policy

Alternatives to Orthodox Macroeconomics

Edited by Eckhard Hein and Achim Truger

Money, Distribution and Economic Policy takes issue with the inappropriate treatment of money, effective demand and distribution issues in modern mainstream macroeconomics. It presents contributions which are critical of modern orthodoxy and which explore alternative approaches to macroeconomics and economic policy analysis. The contributors explore the following areas: • the development of heterodox theory • the role of money in macroeconomics • the relationship between distribution and aggregate demand • macroeconomic policy issues from a broader heterodox perspective.
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Edited by Eckhard Hein and Achim Truger

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Eckhard Hein, Arne Heise and Achim Truger

First paragraph

Die deutsche Finanzpolitik steckt schon seit Jahren in einer tiefen Krise. Trotz beständiger Kürzungen der Ausgabenansätze in den öffentlichen Haushalten – insbesondere bei den öffentlichen Investitionen – wird Deutschland 2004 zum dritten Mal in Folge die Defizitobergrenze des Europäischen Stabilitäts- und Wachstumspaktes (SWP) von drei Prozent des BIP überschreiten. Und auch für 2005 wird dieses Kriterium wieder verfehlt werden. Der Versuch, in der Konjunkturkrise durch pro-zyklische Finanzpolitik die Haushalte zu konsolidieren, ist offensichtlich gescheitert und hat mit zur längsten Stagnation in der deutschen Nachkriegsgeschichte beigetragen. Die gleiche Erfahrung machen immer mehr Staaten der Europäischen Währungsunion. Nachdem das Sanktionsverfahren des SWP gegen Deutschland und Frankreich im Herbst 2003 ausgesetzt wurde, scheint die Restriktionsverpflichtung des SWP de facto ausgehöhlt, und die Finanzpolitik in der Europäischen Union ist endlich wieder Gegenstand einer breiteren öffentlichen Diskussion. Unter fortschrittlicheren europäischen und deutschen ÖkonomInnen ist dabei längst klar, dass eine Konsolidierungspolitik, die nicht auf die konjunkturelle Situation Rücksicht nimmt, mit schädlichen Rückwirkungen für Wachstum, Beschäftigung und die Haushaltskonsolidierung selbst rechnen muss. Sie suchen daher auch nach Alternativen zum »neu-monetaristischen« (Arestis/Sawyer 1998) SWP (vgl. Arestis et al. 2001, Buti et al. 2003, Blanchard / Giavazzi 2003 und Bofinger 2003).

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Giuseppe Fontana, Claude Gnos and Achim Truger

First paragraph

The »New Monetary Policy« (NMP) is the major stabilisation policy associated with the so-called »New Consensus« (NC) view in macroeconomics. NC is the dominant view in modern mainstream economics. Its major tenets are (1) the supply-side determined equilibrium level of unemployment (e.g. NAIRU), and, related to it, (2) the acceptance of the long-run Phillips curve. Within this classical framework, the NC has first explored and then supported a role for short-run effective stabilisation policies, which have usually meant aggregate demand fine-tuning via changes in the short-run nominal interest rate controlled by the central bank. The contributions to this special issue, which contains some of the papers presented at the workshop on Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policy organized by the Research Network Alternative Macroeconomic Policies (Germany), the Post Keynesian Economic Study Group (UK), and the Association pour le Développement des Études Keynésiennes (France) on 28th and 29th October 2005 in Berlin, discuss this NC view and its NMP implications from a variety of perspectives and economic traditions.

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Eckhard Hein, Torsten Niechoj and Achim Truger

First paragraph

The world economy is presently suffering from the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression in the early 1930s. As by now seems to be obvious, the present financial crisis, massive state intervention in the financial markets in order to prevent a melt-down, and fiscal stimulus packages inconceivable even several months ago, mark the failure of an economic policy agenda which might be called ›neo-Liberalism‹. This agenda, broadly speaking, focussed on the deregulation of financial, labour and goods markets and on minimising state intervention. It meant a massive redistribution of income and wealth at the expense of labour and ordinary households, increasing imbalances on the global level and rising financial fragility. The failure of this policy agenda is also a failure of mainstream economic theory which has supported it. In particular those theories which are based on the confidence and firm belief that free markets will be stable and generate a full employment equilibrium – at least in the long run – and that the only role left for macroeconomic policies, in particular monetary policies, is to facilitate and accelerate the adjustment process towards this equilibrium, as for example in the dominating New Consensus Model (NCM), have failed.

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Gregor Semieniuk, Till van Treeck and Achim Truger

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Sebastian Gechert, Torsten Niechoj, Engelbert Stockhammer, Achim Truger and Andrew Watt

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Editorial

Inequality and the future of capitalism

Sebastian Gechert, Achim Truger, Till van Treeck and Andrew Watt