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Some optimistic heterodox economists felt that the effects of the global financial crisis might open the door for a new approach capable of providing a better understanding of how a monetary production economy works. However, this hope quickly evaporated as mainstream economists regained their confidence and the orthodox paradigm reasserted its ascendency, albeit in a slightly modified form. Three questions follow; first, how was mainstream economics able to maintain its hegemony? Second, is it nevertheless feasible that the mainstream paradigm could be challenged in the foreseeable future? Third, do heterodox economists have enough in common to work together as part of a coherent alternative approach? In a series of in-depth interviews with leading economists from different schools; Austrian, monetarist, New-Keynesian, Post-Keynesian, Modern Monetary Theory, Marxist, Sraffian and Institutionalist, as well as policy–makers, the book aims to shed light upon the behaviour of economists and the sociology of the economics profession by enabling economists to express their views on a wide range of issues. I hope to provide a stimulating resource for researchers who are interested in understanding the pre-suppositions that underpin the way key thinkers theorise and to reveal the opinions of key thinkers regarding the most important issues that the discipline might address going forward.
When popular Michael Manley took office as the Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1972, the country suffered from high illiteracy, unemployment and poverty. In the two decades before, the private sector had proven not to be able to guarantee long-term economic and social development. The government was expected to initiate change and steer growth (Davis, 1986, p. 77). Immediately after his election, Manley started the program he had promised: among other measures, a minimum wage was established; his land reform redistributed farmland to small-scale farmers; education at all levels became free; adult education programs reduced illiteracy. Did the story end as a success? To finance the program, the government ran high budget deficits that were mainly financed by foreign capital flows. The government expanded, while support for the private sector was reduced. This prompted capital flight (Shams, 1989, p. 75). Capital leaving the country meant currency devaluation, inflation, and economic contraction. Violence spread over the country. Manley lost his election in 1980.