Economics and the Left
Interviews with Progressive Economists
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432 pages / September 2021 / 9781839763793
September 2021 / 9781839763816

Twenty-four economists discuss how they promote egalitarianism, democracy and ecological sanity through research, activism, and policy engagement

Economics and the Left presents interviews with twenty-four leading progressive economists. All of these practitioners of the “dismal science” are dedicated to both interpreting the world and changing it for the better. The result is a combustible brew of ideas and reflections on major historical events, including the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy.

Interviewed are: Michael Ash, Nelson Henrique Barbosa Filho, James K. Boyce, Ha-Joon Chang, Jane D’Arista, Diane Elson, Gerald Epstein, Nancy Folbre, James K. Galbraith, Teresa Ghilarducci, Jayati Ghosh, Ilene Grabel, Costas Lapavitsas, Zhongjin Li, William Milberg, Léonce Ndikumana, Ozlem Onaran, Robert Pollin, Malcolm Sawyer, Juliet Schor, Anwar Shaikh, William Spriggs, Fiona Tregenna and Thomas Weisskopf.


“This fascinating collection of interviews with 24 leading progressive economists is profoundly entertaining, revealing, more directly than in their published work, how they came to believe what they believe. The lively interviews convey the infectious excitement of doing research on substantive questions of great social importance and a deep commitment to bringing about equitable and sustainable progress in a mixed economy. Each interviewee offers rare insights into their intellectual biographies and motivations that readers will find nowhere else. Each interview has important intellectual lessons to teach to anyone wishing to understand the world and to improve it. Unendingly gripping.”

“As James Galbraith argues in this book, ‘economics needs two things: glasnost and perestroika.’ This book offers ‘glasnost’ to anyone interested in the work of some of the most remarkable economists working today, economists whose work is effectively censored by the orthodoxy of the profession. The women economists interviewed—including the remarkable Jane D’Arista—are testament to the need to restructure economics so that women’s genius can finally be recognised and celebrated.”

“Progressive economists, long voices in the wilderness, have had new influence lately, because the reality they have long described has become demonstrably evident, even to the orthodox. For an introduction to these prophetic voices, you can do no better than to read Economics and the Left.”

“This is a wonderful collection of interviews with a wide variety of inspiring progressive economists who do not only try to understand the world, but also to change it. I learned a lot from it, even about the economists I thought I knew quite well. Reading this book is an enriching and uplifting adventure!”

“This collection of engaging, spirited interviews with economists who have put rigorous economic analysis to work for the common good belongs in the hands of every aspiring economics student. Their accounts of the winding paths that led them to economics are unsparingly honest and contain little-known details that illuminate how their early years influenced their later interests. These economists reject the mainstream, neoclassical framework but embrace economic modes of thinking inspired by a large number of writers—Marx among them—and the tools of rigorous economic analysis including statistics and econometrics. These are used to analyze how class and power, and for some the legacies of slavery and patriarchy, structure labor, commodity and financial markets and market outcomes—persistent wage disparities, unequal burdens of care, food and housing insecurity, environmental degradation, financial instability, and wealth inequality. Intellectually rigorous and morally passionate, their analyses lead to solutions that reside in collective action that respects individual rights, in regulation of markets, and—as the Covid-19 pandemic made clear—in the role of the state in the planning, administration, and allocation of key resources.”

Economics and the Left opens a unique window to the hearts and minds of 24 progressive economists—men and women—marked by an extraordinary combination of, on the one hand, brilliance in their academic contributions and of, on the other hand, a passionate commitment to apply their talents—through policy making and advising—to make a better, more equal and sustainable world. This work will be highly enjoyable reading by any economic practitioner, academic or student undergrad and graduate interested in what is—and what is not—the Left in Economics and also by anyone with avid curiosity on how the world economy works and how we can overcome its problems and challenges.”

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