Economists agree with Corbyn: “austerity a policy choice, not economic necessity”

Over 30 economics teachers and researchers (including PRIME’s Ann Pettifor and Jeremy Smith) have signed an open letter welcoming Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies, which open up key areas for debate, and fundamentally challenge “the shared assumptions behind the narrow range of policies advocated by both the Conservative government and the other Labour leadership candidates.”

The letter was first published yesterday at Open Democracy.  The full text, and list of signatories, is as follows.

“The recent statement from Jeremy Corbyn that "austerity is a policy choice not economic necessity" provides a welcome return to serious discussion in the Labour leadership debate. Therefore, the assertions that Corbyn is a “danger” who is causing harm to the Labour Party and the public in general is quite surprising and inappropriate (for example, see FT View 15 August, that Mr Corbyn's candidacy brings "potential harm to...British public life").

Many of Corbyn's policies are advocated by prominent economists and commentators. An example is his proposal to fund public investment by the sale of bonds to the Bank of England. Yet, until now, politicians competing to hold the centre ground have largely ignored such policies or cast them as unthinkable.

Corbyn's proposals should be welcomed even by his opponents for stimulating serious discussion of crucial issues such as the role of the public sector in investment, management of debt and money, and how to tackle inequality. It is to Corbyn's credit that he has broadened the policy discussion so that the shared assumptions behind the narrow range of policies advocated by both the Conservative government and the other Labour leadership candidates are now being debated.

Signed by the following teachers and researchers in economics:

Victoria Chick, University College London

Susan Himmelweit, Open University

Malcolm Sawyer, University of Leeds

Annina Kaltenbrunner, University of Leeds

Gary Dymski, University of Leeds

Ruth Pearson, University of Leeds

Hugo Radice, University of Leeds

Ann Pettifor, Prime Economics

Jeremy Smith, Prime Economics

Steve Keen, Kingston University

Eva Karwowski, Kingston University

Engelbert Stockhammer, Kingston University

Alfredo Saad, SOAS

Guy Standing SOAS

John Weeks, SOAS

Carlos Oya, SOAS

George Irvin, SOAS

Ioana Negru, SOAS

Chris Cramer, SOAS

Jo Michell, University of the West of England

Susan Newman, University of the West of England

Daniela Gabor, University of the West of England

Andrew Mearman, University of the West of England

Ozlem Onaran, University of Greenwich

Jeff Powell, University of Greenwich

Mehmet Ugur, University of Greenwich

Giovanni Cozzi, University of Greenwich

Maria Nikolaidi, University of Greenwich

Simon Mohun, Queen Mary University

Neil Lancastle, DeMontfort University

James Meadway, City University

John Grahl, Middlesex University

Rhys Jenkins, University of East Anglia

Alessandra Mezzadri, SOAS