European Economics at a Crossroads
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European Economics at a Crossroads

J. Barkley Rosser Jr, Richard P.F. Holt and David Colander

As Europe moves toward an integrated academic system, European economics is changing. This book discusses that change, along with the changes that are happening simultaneously within the economic profession. The authors argue that modern economics can no longer usefully be described as ‘neoclassical’, but is much better described as complexity economics. The complexity approach embraces rather than assumes away the complexities of social interaction.
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Chapter 3: Alan Kirman

J. Barkley Rosser Jr, Richard P.F. Holt and David Colander


This interview took place on 16 May, 2008, in Harrisonburg, Virginia How did you get interested in economics? It’s a weird story. I went to Oxford and studied law and geography. After that I became a high school teacher, and I did that for four years. When I was working as a high school teacher I went to some evening classes run by the Workers Education Association, which is associated with the cooperative movement. They organized evening courses for anyone who wanted to go to them. I got interested in economics there, and I thought rather than continuing as a high school teacher for the rest of my life, I would like to do some economics. At that time, however, there were no taught master’s courses in Europe. Then I saw an advertisement for a program run by Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, Italy and it said SAIS, School of Advanced International Studies. They had a diploma in International Economics, Law and Politics that you could apply for. They gave me a scholarship. There were very good people there – some of the founders of the European Union. The person I took microeconomics from was Ira Scott, who came from the University of Minnesota. He wrote a letter for me to get into Minnesota, and said that if I was interested in going on in economics, I would be accepted there. I went there as an innocent graduate student, having done almost no economics, and zero mathematics. I didn’t know what...

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