I really enjoyed reading & reviewing Margarita Fajardo’s The world that Latin America created with Felipe Antunes de Oliveira. We argue the book makes a major contribution by taking Latin American development debates seriously, but leaves key political questions unresolved. Read the full review here.
Along with Erik Reinert, I’ve published A Modern Guide to Uneven Economic Development. In contrast to mainstream approaches to economics, this Guide addresses the complex reality of economic development as an inherently uneven process, exploring the ways of theorizing and empirically exploring the mechanisms with which the unevenness manifests itself. It covers a wide array of issues influencing wealth and poverty, technological innovation, ecology and sustainability, financialization, population, gender, and geography, considering the dynamics of cumulative causations created by the interplay between these factors.
I wrote a new article on decolonizing economics teaching with my collaborator Surbhi Kesar. It’s now open access in Review of International Political Economy, check it out: Standing in the way of rigor? Economics’ meeting with the decolonization agenda.
Here’s the abstract:
This article critically discusses the scope for decolonizing economics teaching. It scrutinizes what it would entail in terms of theory, methods, and pedagogy, and its implications for scholars grappling with issues related to economics teaching. Based on a survey of 498 respondents, it explores how economists across different types of departments (economics/heterodox/non-economics), geographical locations, and identities assess challenges to economics teaching, how they understand the relevance of calls for decolonization, and how they believe economics teaching should be reformed. Based on the survey findings, the article concludes that the field’s emphasis on advancing economics as an objective social science free from political contestations, based on narrow theoretical and methodological frameworks and a privileging of technical training associated with a limited understanding of rigor, likely stands in the way of the decolonization of economics. Indeed, key concepts of the decolonization agenda—centering structural power relations, critically examining the vantage point from which theorization takes place and unpacking the politics of knowledge production—stand in sharp contrast to the current priorities of the economics field as well as key strands of IPE. Finally, the article charts out the challenges that decolonizing economics teaching entails and identifies potential for change.
I’m very happy to finally have this open access article “Beyond financialisation: the longue durée of finance and production in the Global South” out in the Cambridge Journal of Economics (coauthored with Kai Koddebrock and Ndongo Samba Sylla). I summarize the article in this twitter thread.
Here is the article abstract:
One of the central premises of the literature on financialisation is that we have been living in a new era of capitalism, characterised by a historical shift in the finance-production nexus. Finance has expanded to a disproportionate economic size and, more importantly, has divorced from productive economic pursuits. In this paper, we explore these claims of ‘expansion’ and ‘divorce’ based on a longue durée analysis of the link between finance and production in Senegal and Ghana. As such, we de-centre the dominant approach to financialisation. Seen from the South, we argue that although there has been expansion of financial motives and practices the ‘divorce’ between the financial and the productive economy cannot be considered a new empirical phenomenon having occurred during the last decades and even less an epochal shift of the capitalist system. The tendency for finance to neglect the needs of the domestic productive sector has been the structural operation of finance in many parts of the Global South over the last 150 years. Therefore, one cannot put forward a theory of the evolution of finance under capitalism without taking these crucial historical insights into account.
The article is a part of a two-part Special Issue on ‘Financialisation in Developing and Emerging Economies: Manifestations, Drivers and Implications’ in CJE, edited by Carolina Alves, Bruno Bonizzi and Annina Kaltenbrunner. Read their introduction to the first part here.
I have a new article in the Review of International Political Economy with the fabulous co-author team of Ilias Alami, Carolina Alves, Bruno Bonizzi, Annina Kaltenbrunner, Kai Koddenbrock and Jeff Powell. The article (open access) outlines a research agenda for understanding international financial subordination by drawing on the heterodox traditions of dependency theory, Marxism, and Post-Keynesianism.
I had the privelege of publishing a review essay of two books in the most recent issue of Race and Class (2022). I review the important contributions and radical potential of Adom Getachew’s Worldmaking after Empire (2019) and Franklin Obeng-Odoom’s Property, Institutions, and Social Stratification in Africa (2020), and outline some ways in which their analyses and frameworks could be expanded along anti-colonial Marxist lines.
Read the full review here.
I have a new working paper in the Greenwich Papers in Political Economy series with the fabulous and rich co-author team: Ilias Alami, Carolina Alves, Bruno Bonizzi, Annina Kaltenbrunner, Kai Kodddenbrock and Jeff Powell. Together we’ve been working on systematizing and defining a critical research agenda on international financial subordination for a while now. We welcome feedback.
I have a new paper out with Surbhi Kesar in the New School Department of Economics’ Working Paper series: Standing in the Way of Rigor? Economics’ Meeting with the Decolonizing Agenda.
This paper critically engages with various aspects of the decolonization movement in economics and its implications for the discipline. We operationalize the insights from this engagement using a survey of 498 economists that explores how faculty across different kinds of departments, disciplines, geographies, and identities perceive the problems of economics teaching, how they think economics pedagogy should be reformed, if at all, and how they relate to decolonial critiques of economics pedagogy. Based on the survey findings, we conclude that the mainstream of the field’s emphasis on technical training and rigor, within a narrow theoretical and methodological framework, likely stands in the way of the very possibility for decolonizing economics, given its strong contrast to key ideas associated with the decolonization agenda, such as positionality, centering power relations, exposing underlying politics of defining theoretical categories, and unpacking the politics of knowledge production. Nonetheless, the survey responses clearly chart out the challenges that the field faces in terms of decolonizing pedagogy, which is a first step towards debate and change.
Along with Maria Dyveke Styve and Ushehwedu Kufakurinani, I edited a special issue in Review of African Political Economy on Samir Amin’s work and its relevance for contemporary problems.
You can read our introductory editorial here: Samir Amin and beyond: the enduring relevance of Amin’s approach to political economy. We also wrote a blog post about the issue that you can find here.
Jacob Assa and I recently published our work on the implications of changes in measurement standards of GDP for global convergence debates – and the political economy implications of recent reforms. In short, we find that how we measure GDP is largely determined by Western institutions and the economic structures of Western economies, thus underestimating the growth of non-Western economies that have different economic structures. The recent increase in the proportion of imputations in GDP has also had the effect of boosting the GDP of the West relative to the rest of the world, which is the inspiration for the paper title: Imputing Away the Ladder.
What are the implications of changes in measurement standards of GDP for global convergence debates? What are the political economy implications? To answer the former question, we examine the changes in national accounting standards from the early 1990s. Revisions to the System of National Accounts (SNA) – the international standard for constructing GDP – include several major changes to how production is measured, including the reclassification of financial intermediation services, R&D, and weapons systems as productive activities – all areas in which countries in the West has had an advantage in recent decades. In addition, there has been an increase in the proportion of imputations in the 1993 and 2008 revisions, which privileges the economic structures of the West. Overall, we find that these changes have had the effect of boosting the GDP of the West relative to the rest of the world and thus to an underestimation of global convergence compared to previous measures of GDP. To answer the second question, the paper unpacks the political economy implications of national accounting standards favouring Western economies along several axes, including the impacts on voting shares in international institutions, domestic policy incentives and epistemological debates about sustainable development.