10 economic myths

A note from the editor

Dinyar Godrej

Wrong prescription.

Does repeating a thing make it true? The followers of mainstream economic dogma must surely think ‘Yes’. After the financial crash of 2008 and the malaise ever since, they haven’t changed their tune much. Their prescriptions don’t work but the patients – you or me – are still being dosed with ‘freemarket’ medicine.

It’s enough to make one go a funny shade of green.

We’ve worked on this edition in the spirit of providing something of an antidote. The economic bottom line is inevitable, say the powers that be. Just the way things are. Well, we – and an ever-growing legion of dissenting economists and fed-up-to-the-back-teeth members of the general public – say, ‘No’. These cherished myths are causing real harm and we need to ditch them.

A big thank you to my co-writer and fellow myth-buster on The Big Story this month – former New Internationalist co-editor David Ransom, who has brought his wit, insight and engagement to bear on it.

Among other features this month is an unusual piece by Suprabha Seshan, who is director of a botanical sanctuary in South India. It’s the kind of ecological writing that has a heartbeat. Meanwhile, regular columnist Steve Parry’s ears are ringing after being subjected to much Twittering.

Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

Keynote article.

Illustrations: Belle Mellor

10 economic myths we need to junk

Dinyar Godrej and David Ransom introduce this month's main theme.

Buy this magazine

Never underestimate the power of cherished ideas. They are clung to ever tighter when we are suffering reality’s harshest knocks.

When it comes to economics, today’s over-riding article of faith is of the rule of the market. If only it were completely free and global, with notions of governance and workers’ rights out of the way, then the good capitalists would usher in an era of plenty with pickings for everyone, from top to bottom. Regulation, social provision, public ownership are all gett...




Features.

Myth 1: Austerity will lead to 'jobs and growth'

It's wrong to sell austerity as a cure for economic woes, says Dinyar Godrej.

Buy this magazine

Myth 2: Deficit reduction is the only way out of a slump

Don't rely on those who caused the crash to resolve it, argues David Ransom.

Buy this magazine

Myth 3: Taxing the rich scares off investors and stalls economic performance

Taxation creates prosperity just as much as private enterprise, says David Ransom.

Buy this magazine

Myth 4: Economic migrants are a drain on rich world economies

Migration follows a demand for labour - and benefits the receiving country, writes Dinyar Godrej.

Buy this magazine

'I predict...'

Economists don't always get it right...

Buy this magazine

Myth 5: The private sector is more efficient than the public sector

There is no evidence of greater efficiency, explains Dinyar Godrej.

Buy this magazine

Myth 6: Fossil fuels are more economically viable than renewables

Not if you look at the environmental costs, says Dinyar Godrej.

Buy this magazine

Myth 7: Financial regulation will destroy a profitable banking sector

Why should financial markets be accountable only to themselves? asks David Ransom.

Buy this magazine

Myth 8: Organized labour is regressive

David Ransom argues that the opposite is actually true.

Buy this magazine

Myth 9: Everyone has to pay their debts

Myth 9: Everyone has to pay their debts

We need debt management not reduction, says Dinyar Godrej.

Buy this magazine

Myth 10: Growth is the only way

Dinyar Godrej explains why we need to find another way, fast.

Buy this magazine

Cry me a river

A poetic and heartfelt plea to restore a wounded planet. By Suprabha Seshan.

Buy this magazine

Opinion.

#ShellNo: the triumph of the Kayaktivists

We do not always win - but sometimes we prevail. Mark Engler celebrates a daring victory.

Buy this magazine

In the eye of a Twitter storm

Steve Parry experiences Trolling and is still recovering.

Buy this magazine

Agenda.

Cause for hope? The end to Colombia’s 50-year civil war may hasten an end to forced disappearances like those denounced above by a woman in Medellín in September.

Is the FARC peace deal something to celebrate?

Jonathan Glennie considers the implications of a historical handshake.

Buy this magazine

UN peacekeepers in disgrace

UN peacekeepers in disgrace

The United Nations has to rebuild public trust, says Tom Lawson.

Buy this magazine

Five years ago...

Chris Brazier looks back at our December 2010 issue.

Buy this magazine

Mapuche refuse fracking

Mapuche refuse fracking

Claire Fauset reports on resistance and repression.

Buy this magazine

Introducing... Justin Trudeau

Richard Swift on Canada's new prime minister.

Buy this magazine

Rights defenders, really?

Rights defenders, really?

Felicity Arbuthnot is not impressed by the appointment of a Saudi Arabian to the Human Rights Council.

Buy this magazine

Holding the line against ISIS

Cultural resistance comes at a terrible cost, reports Emad Al Sharaa.

Buy this magazine

In search of lost soldiers

In search of lost soldiers

Families of missing POWs are still waiting for answers after 44 years, says Jas Uppal.

Buy this magazine

Good reasons to run

Good reasons to run

Felicity Thompson reports on Gambia's state of fear.

Buy this magazine

Wolves and boars galore

Wolves and boars galore

Wild animals are benefiting from the absence of humans in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, writes Hazel Healy.

Buy this magazine

Regulars.

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Your feedback published in the December 2015 magazine.

Read this article

The revolutionary

Ruby Diamonde dines with a man on a mission to wake up his people.

Buy this magazine

Top left: A view of the capital, Pyongyang, showing schoolchildren practising for the National Day parade in Kim Il-Sung Square, with the Juche Tower and a large new LCD screen in the distance.  Top right: A woman from a rural workgroup just north of Pyongyang. Bottom right: Performing for foreign visitors in a rural kindergarten. Bottom left: A typical propaganda image – most North Koreans retain the sense that their leaders are admired abroad as well as at home.

Country profile: North Korea

Aidan Foster-Carter looks beyond the clichés of the secretive state.

Buy this magazine

Open Window - A Better Life

Agim Sulaj from Albania/Italy with ‘A Better Life’.

Buy this magazine

Southern Exposure: Karel Prinsloo

The Namibian photographer captures a patient vendor in Kenya's Kibera slum.

Buy this magazine

Worldbeaters: Enrique Peña Nieto

The Mexican president may look like butter wouldn't melt... but looks can be deceiving.

Buy this magazine

And finally... Ramin Bahrani

The system is rigged, but it can be changed, the US-Iranian film director tells Malcolm Lewis.

Buy this magazine

Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Carol – a groundbreaking story of lesbian love in McCarthy-era US.

Mixed Media: Films

Carol, directed by Todd Haynes; The Lesson, directed by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov.

Buy this magazine

Mixed Media: Music

From Sacred to Secular by Various artists; Impredecible by Bareto.

Buy this magazine

Mixed Media: Books

Nocilla Dream by Augustín Fernández Mallo; A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz by Göran Rosenberg; Smart Citizens, Smarter State by Beth Simone Noveck.

Buy this magazine

Also out there...

More reviews from the December 2015 magazine, including books on ISIS.

Buy this magazine

Back