Blogging Hiatus

I’ve decided to put the blog on a brief hiatus for the exam period. Thanks as always to all my readers and especially to the excellent set of commenters I’ve managed to accrue. I’ll be back in mid June after exams have finished, with a fresh set of reasons both libertarians and economists are silly.

PS feel free to leave links, books etc. that you think I’d like in the comments. Consider this an open thread.

PPS I will continue tweeting, though it will probably be quieter.

PPPS there is always the possibility I’ll end up posting tomorrow, as when I tried a hiatus last year. But I’m feeling a bit more drained in general this year so it’s less likely.

  1. #1 by Robert Nielsen on April 29, 2013 - 9:14 pm

    Going through something similar myself. You’re busy with exams and study and have no time, and the moment you announce you’re taking a break some big even occurs or brainwave hits you and you just have to post.

    • #2 by Unlearningecon on May 10, 2013 - 3:58 pm

      Luckily I haven’t had this yet – think it was a good time to take a break, particularly as I came down with an illness immediately after I posted this!

  2. #3 by Dan on April 29, 2013 - 10:57 pm

    Good luck with exams!

  3. #4 by Roman P. on April 30, 2013 - 9:01 am

    Good luck, of course!

    For the reading I suggest Fernand Braudel’ “Civilization and Capitalism”. He was a very important historian, and I found his analysis of the rise of capitalism to be the most insightful. It is an easy (if long) read, but the wealth of historical facts he operates and the quality of his arguments are amazing.

    • #5 by Unlearningecon on May 2, 2013 - 10:03 pm

      Thanks, that book looks excellent. Even I can only take so much criticism of neoclassical theory; I find history is really the best weapon.

  4. #6 by JohnB on April 30, 2013 - 8:03 pm

    Good luck with the exams; look forward to new posts!

  5. #7 by Geolibertarian on May 1, 2013 - 9:10 pm

    I was hoping to ask you some off-topic questions in some other post for a while, hope you have time to answer them here. The questions are:
    1) What do you think of the Marxist theory of a tendency for the rate of profit to fall, and what are some good critics of it (besides Okishio, preferably post-keynesians or other heterodox theorists)?
    2) What do you think of Silvio Gesell’s Freiwirtschaft, share Keynes’s own opinion on it or not?

    Good luck with the exams. I should take a hiatus from reading econ blogs to prepare for mine (specially since i don’t even study economics at all…), but the drive to procrastinate is too strong.

    • #8 by Unlearningecon on May 2, 2013 - 9:58 pm

      I’m going to have to disappoint you with my answers by admitting I’m not particularly clued up on either of these. I plan to read both of Alan Kliman’s books on capital – ‘Recaliming Marx’s Capital’ is a defense of the theory, while ‘The Failure of Capitalist Production’ is an attempt to apply it in the real world, with a focus on the 2008 financial crisis.

      My first impression of Freiwirtschaft would be to side with Keynes re: liquidity preference. I’m not sure how one could expect functioning capital markets without money as the most liquid asset. I would expect markets to crash as trade was stifled by a lack of flexibility.

      Having said that, the rest of the program looks like something I could get on board with. But then, as an institutionally-inclined economists, I wouldn’t want to make any unilateral pronouncements on policy either.

      • #9 by Geolibertarian on May 3, 2013 - 2:47 pm

        I’ve read a lot about the Marxist theory but never read a critique of it, so i was wondering who has criticized it. I know the theory relies quite heavily on some aspects of Marx’s LTV, so someone who isn’t on-board with it is going to reject, but i don’t know of any direct critique of it besides Okishio’s (and i think Paul Samuelson wrote a critique too, but i doubt it’s one worth the time).

        Keynes himself praised Gesell quite a lot for laying the foundation for a very logical form of “non-Marxian Socialism”. Irving Fisher (the father of debt-deflation theory, if i’m not mistaken) also praised Gesell’s monetary ideas as being the best way to stabilize the price level, combat inflation/deflation and take us out of crisis.

        I think it’s curious that Keynes praised Gesell quite a lot (while men like Mises opposed him) when Gesell’s program is extremely close to classical-liberalism, if you think about it. Besides his proposal for monetary reform (which, if you ask me, is more ‘free-market’ oriented than the classical gold standard); the program for free-land (i.e, freeing land from land rents and landlordism by taxing land) and free-trade pretty much *is* the old classical-liberal program. It’s like Freiland and Freihandel were copy-pasted from David Ricardo, J.S Mill and Henry George. Gesell even uses classical-liberal rhetoric (free land, free money, free trade, free economy, natural economic order, etc) to make his point.

        When i first read Gesell the first thing i thought is that he united Keynes, George and Hayek, in a way.

  6. #10 by Frederico on May 3, 2013 - 5:28 am

    Good luck with exams.
    I just found out about your blog because it has been referred by NESS. I am surprised by the quality of posts and I am happy to have found someone who is theoretically inclined and prepared to engage into discussing economics seriously.
    I have a question, though: are you a real person? where do you study and (if possible) what is your name?

    • #11 by Unlearningecon on May 10, 2013 - 3:59 pm


      Well, I’m pretty sure I’m a real person 🙂

      But I like to keep things pseudonymous for various reasons. Even if I gave you my name you wouldn’t find anything, I’m a student and not well known.

  7. #12 by Metatone on May 8, 2013 - 9:23 pm

    Have you read Beinhocker’s Origin of Wealth? It’s not all good, but there’s some great parts to it.

    This book is shaping up to be the new orthodoxy:

    It’s not out until after exams, so maybe you’ll have time.
    Since it’s not out, I don’t know if it’s any good, but the excerpts I’ve seen from some bloggers aren’t promising. (And it’s scary how said bloggers didn’t seem to pick up on the issues in what they posted…)

    • #13 by Unlearningecon on May 10, 2013 - 4:17 pm

      Interesting looking book, will wait and see what the reviews are like.

  8. #14 by Metatone on May 8, 2013 - 9:24 pm

    Oops, didn’t mean to post that huge thumbnail – some kind of auto wordpress thing…

  9. #15 by Dan on May 9, 2013 - 2:16 pm

    Dan here, Gravatar changed because I made a page. Thought you might like to know, after years of posting long replies on other people’s blogs a friend and I decided to make a blog of our own. Check it out sometime at . Its main focus is on social theory and social science in general, but there will be many posts devoted to political economy as well and I hope to touch on many of the things that you have mentioned on this page. If you are wondering why its named after Hobbes, its not because we advocate absolute monarchy, it has more to do with his “Artificial Man” approach to society in which civilization is viewed as a super-organism(not unlike an ant colony or bee hive) which actively supports its own survival by promoting beneficial behaviors and trying to mitigate behaviors which are potential threats to its survival. The hope is to explore the super-organism hypothesis as a unified social theory within which economics can fit and perhaps can be utilized to explain many of the gaps in economics. Either way, any input or commentary is greatly appreciated and hopefully my page can help people unlearn even more of economics.

    • #16 by Unlearningecon on May 10, 2013 - 4:06 pm

      Hi Dan,

      Good to here, I’ve always liked your comments and that sounds like an interesting theory (I don’t know anything about Hobbes other than some basic second hand principles such as his ‘state of nature’). Will subscribe to the blog and look forward to reading it.

  10. #17 by Blue Aurora on May 15, 2013 - 8:19 am

    Whilst this comment is belated…your e-mail – um, I mean, message to us that you are taking a hiatus in order to devote time to studying for your exams is a wise decision that I believe all of us respect. I hope all goes well with your exams, Unlearningecon.

    • #18 by Unlearningecon on May 16, 2013 - 1:35 pm

      Thanks BA

      • #19 by Blue Aurora on May 16, 2013 - 2:50 pm

        You’re welcome. 😉