EREP News 

 

  • On 24 April 2017 John Weeks gave testimony on the economic cost of Brexit to the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union of the Deutsche Bundestag. He was invited as an expert witness based on a study he co-authored  with Jeremy Smith on reform of the European Union. His main points were that while the economic costs have been exaggerated, the social consequences, especially loss of EU protection of the environment, consumer rights, employment rights and civil rights, will be extremely detrimental to British citizens, with the possible independence of Scotland a massive shock to the political system. John has also written an article for The Conversation website, "Why a smooth Brexit is in the interests of Germany as much as the UK." 
  • On the eve (22nd November 2016) of the Autumn Statement, we look back at aspects of George Osborne's legacy - Richard Murphy assesses his (lack of) legacy on tax issues, while Graham Gudgin and Ken Coutts examine how Osborne - and in particular OBR - always got it wrong on fiscal targets. 
  • EREP's John Weeks and Ann Pettifor discuss the new Chancellor Phillip Hammond on Share Radio 
  • Listen to EREP's John Weeks and Jeremy Smith discuss the EU referendum on Share Radio.
  • John Weeks's lecture on what's wrong with economics, at conference of TASC (Think Tank for Action on social change) in Dublin, 17 June.
  • John Weeks's interview on Real News - on Brexit and the rise of the European far-right.
  • EREP co-convenor John Weeks has written an article entitled EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: Read it before you vote on 23 June.
  • EREP launched its new publication, “Remain for Change: Building European solidarity for a democratic economic alternative”.  This comprises articles from ten authors (economists and from related disciplines) who are united in arguing that from a political and economic perspective, it is essential to vote in the Referendum to remain in the EU.
  • This newest EREP publication will be debated at a short public conference to be held on 15th June 2016 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the University of Greenwich.  It has been published in partnership with the University of Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre (GPERC), and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS). Free tickets to the event are available through Eventbrite.
  • Professor John Weeks and PRIME's Jeremy Smith were recently interviewed by Real News on the state of play in the EU referendum debate. Listen to the interview here.
  • EREP member Professor John Weeks was interviewed about Corbynomics by Bloomberg on September 14th 2015.

Watch the full video here.

Our Manifesto  

In February 2015, 3 months ahead of the UK General Election, several of us decided to form Economists for Rational Economic Policies (EREP).  Our aim was and remains to encourage and participate in political debate over economic policy, where the current public “discourse” – amongst most political parties in the UK and Europe as well as in the official media – is dangerously impoverished and one-sided, wedded to forms of “debt and deficit fetishism”. This ignores the positive lessons to learn from policies which in the past have both helped to reduce inequality and to enhance economic activity and stability.

We set out our common Statement of Purpose below; and any economist, or other professional working in related disciplines, who endorses this statement is welcome to join us.  For five years the Coalition government made macroeconomic management derivative from deficit reduction, so called austerity policies.  This endogenizing of fiscal policy has resulted in the slowest recovery on record, as well as a serious under-funding of public services at local and national levels, including (taking account of demographics) the National Health Service.

Yet under the Conservative government which took office in May 2015, these policies are intensifying, with the clear purpose of permanently reducing the size and role of the state in funding and providing services for the community. There therefore remains a huge task for us in EREP, to show that there is indeed a positive alternative economic approach, which benefits society as a whole.

Members of EREP need not agree on the balance between current and capital expenditure, nor on the distribution of expenditure among public sector activities.  The key issue that unites us is that an active, countercyclical fiscal policy constitutes sound economic management, in contrast to the dysfunctional austerity approach to macro management. 

Statement of Purpose

The goal of economists and their profession is to promote the general welfare of the community.  Sound and active fiscal and monetary policies are essential for promoting general welfare and stability – economic, environmental, and social - through investment, full employment, and broadly based economic activity. 

A sound and active fiscal policy:

1. Does not seek a continuously balanced overall public budget

2. Compensates for inadequate or excessive private sector demand by a countercyclical management of current expenditure to maintain the economy near full potential

3. Expands the role of automatic stabilizers including support for the unemployed and a counter-cyclical tax structure

4. Incorporates public investment to increase the potential growth rate and "crowd in" private investment in areas of priority

5. Addresses the challenges of climate change and environmental protection, in particular the need to prepare for the post-carbon society

Members of the group will offer and provide technical expertise and regular non-technical briefings for politicians, journalists and NGOs in support of these guidelines. We will explain their importance and seek to correct popular misunderstandings of economic policy.

Endorsed by:  

Prof. John Weeks, SOAS; Ann Pettifor Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME); Jeremy Smith, PRIME;  David Blanchflower, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; Dr Stephanie Blankenburg, SOAS; Prof. John Grahl, University of Middlesex; Prof. Alfredo Saad Filho, SOAS, University of London; Dr. Annina Kaltenbrunner, University of Leeds; Prof. Steve Keen, University of Kingston; Helen Kersley, employment economist; Dr. Jo Michell, University of the West of England; Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK; Dr Susan Newman, UWE Bristol; Prof. Özlem Onaran, University of Greenwich; Howard Reed, Landman Economics; Andrew Simms, The Weather Institute; Prof. Engelbert Stockhammer, University of Kingston; Prof. Frances Stewart, University of Oxford; Prof. Jan Toporowski, SOAS, University of London; Elisa Van Waeyenberge, SOAS, University of London;  Mary Robertson, Economics, Leeds University; Simon Mohun, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, Queen Mary University of London; Dr. Giovanni Cozzi, University of Greenwich; Dr Maria Nikolaidi, University of Greenwich; Professor Ben Fine, SOAS; Dr Graham Gudgin, Research Associate, University of Cambridge; Ken Coutts, Research Associate, University of Cambridge; Dr Greg Hannsgen, State University of New York at New Paltz.

Anyone wishing to endorse the EREP manifesto and make a contribution to our work should contact Prof. John Weeks via portia.sale@primeeconomics.org.  Please outline academic/professional details, and indicate your area of expertise. 

To receive EREP briefings, please write to portia.sale@primeeconomics.org, and add the words, 'subscribe to EREP briefing' in the subject line of the email. 

 
 

EREP Briefings