Welcome to 1st World Keynes Conference

1st World Keynes Conference
“Attacking the Citadel: Making Economics Fit for Purpose”
Izmir University of Economics, Izmir/Turkey
26.- 29. June 2013

Submit your papers to: Arne.Heise@wiso.uni-hamburg.de

Economics as a science ought to be in disarray. Its vastly dominant mainstream model – New Consensus Macroeconomics (NCM) and the related Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model – has not only suffered a severe blow by the eruptions of the recent world financial crisis but must be seen as part of its cause: the quasi-religious believe in super-efficient markets and the self-regulatory capabilities of the representative agent, the main assumption of the framework, pursuing relentlessly its own egoistic interests has distracted most professional economists from investigating the unthinkable: a violently unstable economy. The uncritical acceptance of very restricted formal models as a good approximation of reality has led many economists to produce tools which reinforced organic instability. For methodological reasons, assumptions about the existence of information and the capabilities to process them are being entertained, which not only do they collide with reality but allow for a representative behavior of economic agents, which is strongly contested by most other social sciences: optimization under constraints. Like no other social science, mainstream economics has shaped a monistic understanding of social relations with respect to the contested use of resources which ignores the rich tradition of political, social and historical economics of its dispersed roots such as classical political economy, American institutionalism, the historical schools or, of course, Keynesian macroeconomics. Like no other social science, mainstream economics has restricted its methods to the use of formal models and sophisticated econometrics, which does not allow for narrative, historical or comparative approaches without loss of professional recognition. Like no other social science, mainstream economics has succeeded in creating formal and informal norms concerning the economic profession as a science which renders any theoretical and methodological alternatives as heterodox ‘dissenters’ and assigns to them marginalized positions outside the core of academic economics. Short periods of pluralism – as during the 1960s – are seen as ‘periods of crisis’ rather than as an inspiring competition of ideas.

Although in the aftermath of the recent economic crisis, ‘dissent’ authors such as Hyman P. Minsky and, of course, John Maynard Keynes himself have become more fashionable again and some self-critical voices among mainstream economists have been heard, a critical inspection of articles published in the core economics journals does not point towards a major impact of the economic crisis on the way the economic profession is willing to think and theorize about economic problems. Rather, one has the impression that ‘the citadel’ (as Keynes called the orthodox neoclassical mainstream of his time) either refuses to make any amendments at all or to put themselves at the forefront of the ‘new economic thinking’ movement in order to determine its direction!

The 1. World Keynes Conference attempts to take up the impetus derived from the shock of the world financial crisis in order to bring together all such economists and social scientists who authentically hold the opinion that the economic science needs

  • to broaden its recognized approaches
  • to allow for more respect between competing theories and paradigms
  • to (re-)integrate political and social institutions in their theories
  • to foster communication and discussion between different theories, paradigms and sciences
  • to find a better balance with respect to the focus of attention between allocational, distributive and stabilization issues
  • to become a ‘critical science’ again in the sense of questioning the institutional foundations of modern societies rather than defending them uncritically against alternatives

Taking into consideration that the notion of ‘economic heterodoxy’ is very opaque, the 1. World Keynes Conference attempts to bring together all economists and social scientists that authentically hold the opinion that the NCM and DSGE mainstream is misconceived and should be replaced not by any other single contender to become the mainstream model but by a plurality of approaches, models and paradigms from very different origin such as

  • Post Keynesianism
  • Marxism, the Regulation School and the Social Structure of Accumulation Approach
  • Institutionalism
  • Neoricardianism
  • Schumpeterianism and Evolutionary Economics
  • Social Economics
  • Behavioural Economics
  • Feminist Economics

The 1. World Keynes Conference attempts to take up all issues that are interesting to ‘heterodox economists’ of the above described distinction such as

  • Microeconomic issues
  • Macroeconomic issues
  • Political economic issues
  • Public policy issues
  • Public finance issues
  • Distributional issues
  • Methodological issues
  • Issues of the history of economic analysis
  • Issues related to economic pluralism
  • Issued related to the comparison and complementarity of different paradigms
  • Issues related to the Professional and Intellectual Ethics and Practices of economists
  • Issues related to Keynes, the Arts and the role of the public sphere in culture

The stance taken by the organizers of the 1.World Keynes Conference is one of in-, not of exclusion. There is no need for discrimination but for a proof of the richness of ‘heterodox economics’ and the function and potentials of open and respectful discussion.