Why you should study economics at RMIT

As it happens, I teach one of the finest introductory economics courses you will find anywhere in the world. Not standard by any means, it is based around my text, Free Market Economics: an Introduction for the General Reader. If you would truly like to understand how an economy works, you could not do better, in my view, than to read my book and if you can, to take my course. The reality is that you could not do better than to study economics at RMIT.

For all that there is a wildly absurd blog post by Ben Eltham, a self-confessed Keynesian and economic know-nothing, that comes first up if you google my name that goes under the heading, “Don’t Study Economics at RMIT”. Mr Eltham, it seems, wrote this in 2010. Must have been expecting a wondrous recovery although I must say he was a very optimistic soul to have still harboured such confident beliefs as late as the 6th November that year.

The kind of certainty found in Skidelsky (and Eltham) has drifted out to sea in the last few years. There are a few diehards of the Krugman variety but with economic matters getting worse just about everywhere, it will be a while before we again hear about the return of the master in relation to Keynes. I am told my students do read this post but interestingly they have never brought it up with me. What I describe to them in theoretical terms is exactly what they can see for themselves everywhere they look.

The notion that Keynesian policies have worked anywhere at all since the stimulus programs at the end of the GFC can not be sustained for a moment. They have been a disaster everywhere they were tried with the American economy amongst the most disastrous. The likelihood of any kind of serious recovery even now is remote. And it’s not because of some financial crisis years ago but because of the stimulus and the deficits and the debt that are a direct result of Keynesian theory. Mr Eltham, a self-confessed non-economist, totally without formal training in economics, is in absolutely no position to comment on any economic matter other than as a matter of wishing things were true that are not. You would think that by now he would have the decency to apologise but the possibility is as remote as his ever understanding the first thing about how an economy works.

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