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Economics 101

Martin Wolf argues that, to be a truly democratic and prosperous society, we need a new and comprehensive movement devoted to public engagement with economics.

Martin Wolf argues that, to be a truly democratic and prosperous society, we need a new and comprehensive movement devoted to public engagement with economics.

In 2008, following the deepest financial crisis Britain has ever faced, the Queen asked how it was possible that nobody in the government or the City had been able to see the crash coming.

A group of eminent economists responded to her question in a letter, arguing, "Everyone seemed to be doing their own job properly on its own merit. And according to standard measures of success, they were often doing it well. The failure was to see how collectively this added up to a series of interconnected imbalances over which no single authority had jurisdiction."

The economists' letter does little to reassure the reader about avoiding another crash in the future. Moreover, it implicitly endorses the dominant view that our economy should be managed and maintained by a small group of technocrats, serving the public interest.

The Financial Times chief economics commentator Martin Wolf mounts a challenge to this belief and explores why economics education and engagement falls so far behind other disciplines.

He speaks to figures such as former US treasury secretary Larry Summers, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, chief economist at the Bank of England Andy Haldane, economist Wendy Carlin, journalist Robert Peston, and politicians John McDonnell and Liz Truss.

Producer: Sean Glynn and Tom Peters
An SPG production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Sun 12 Aug 2018 13:30