Economics Blogs in a Time of Crisis: Policy, Development, Globalization, and Transformation

Almost desperate for blogs that cover dimensions of the economic crisis in relatively brief posts that are accessible to non-economists, I was forced to take a journey lasting a few days into the economics blogscape. Longstanding interests of mine have been political economy, globalization, and world-systems analysis, and my early reason for entering anthropology was to marry some of the background I acquired in a development-oriented International Relations program, with more “ground-level” and intimate knowledge of real human beings in real places.

I am glad I did this blog tour, I found some particularly rich resources that I want to share here. (One of the curious facts I noted is the recurring mention of George Mason University as the site for a number of the blogs below.) There is a particular order to what follows below, mostly, and hopefully I can make that clear. I “favourited” (the new Internet word for favouring) a number of the items below as ones that I personally want to visit frequently. The (A) notation means that the blog is explicitly authored by one or more academics (whether students or faculty).

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Among anthropology blogs, we know of Neuroanthropology, which seems to have its economics counterpart at Neuroeconomics. Neuroeconomics is an expression of George Mason University’s Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics. Neuroeconomics describes itself as “an interdisciplinary research program with the goal of building a biological model of decision making in economic environments,” looking at ways the emboded brain enables, “the mind (or groups of minds) to make economic decisions.” Neuroeconomists seek to combine “techniques from cognitive neuroscience and experimental economics,” so that they “can now watch neural activity in real time, observe how this activity depends on the economic environment, and test hypotheses about how the emergent mind makes economic decisions.” They claim that neuroeconomics “allows us to better understand both the wide range of heterogeneity in human behavior, and the role of institutions as ordered extensions of our minds.”

In case you are wondering, yes, there is also a Neuropolitics site/blog/archive of essays, and a Neurosociology blog.

Also, just as there is this Open Anthropology blog, there is an Open Economics blog, which is not suggest that they are twins, though there are some similarities beyond the titles: “[The Open Economics] blog is administered by a group of students at the University of Notre Dame who meet weekly to examine and debate the world of economic phenomena we face, everywhere and everyday. Here, we will post our weekly readings along with any other economic artifacts we may come across. Anyone is welcome to join the discussion from across any boundary or discipline. A more diverse understanding of economics is our goal, and open debate is (in our opinion) the best way.” Open Economics is going to be one of my favourite economics blogs given its open style and the diversity of issues it covers (looking at recent posts we see items on barter, changes to the discipline of economics, financial debates in popular culture, the debate between David Harvey — who works in an anthropology department — and Brad DeLong, capitalism “after” the crisis, and contemporary slavery in the U.S.). I am marking this with a red star (gold has been devalued) as a blog I will read regularly. (A)

(Yes, there is also an Open Politics site, which coincidentally is run by other Canadians, but no Open Sociology.)

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The Daily Capitalist has been publishing since 2007, now frequently, and is led by Jeff Harding. Most of the items are U.S.-focused, deconstructing recent policy measures, bailout schemes, and stimulus packages. The blog comments on economics, politics, and finance from a free market perspective, according to its mission statement. The stated aim is to try to present ideas the reader would not find in contemporary media.  Among the blogger’s leading influences are the founder of the Classical School of economics, Adam Smith, and the Austrian school of economics, including its leading thinkers Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek. Jeff Harding traces his political philosophy back to Edmund Burke, John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson, to name a few. The blogger also has an interest in investments and finance, and specifically investment risk and the role of the business cycle. Otherwise, the blog does rejects endorsing any one political party or ideology. The blog’s goal is to challenge contemporary thinking, mainly from those who promote Keynesian economics (almost everyone) and rely on statist solutions to problems.

Financial Armageddon is about as bold as an economics blog can get, right up to the very design of the blog itself. The blog is the project of Michael J. Panzner, and there is nothing ambiguous about the title and the perspective of this blog. Great reading, packed with posts, frequently updated.

FiNTAG, describing itself as “daily news, gossip, predictions, and opinions” about hedge funds, can be remarkably hilarious, which is not to diminish either the substance of the posts or the expertise of the blogger, a London-based hedge fund manager. Here is a tiny sample of his excellent sarcastic wit: “When I was a banker, I was wet behind the ears. As time went on, I suddenly realised banks operated in a different way to any other business. I got corrupted which is why I set up a hedge fund. Today I feel cleansed and sanctimonious.” It is well worth checking this regularly. The blogger posts several short pieces each day.

Naked Capitalism is a group blog that has received nearly 8 million views in the last two years. Many of the recent posts focus on the ironies, contradictions, and shortcomings of recent bailout measures in the U.S., in language that is widely accessible and engaging.

The Post-Autistic Economics Network is not a blog, but a fascinating archive of essays critical of mainstream economics (reminding me of Open Economics above)., specifically both neoclassicism and neoliberalism. As the site authors explain, Post-Autistic Economics involves a situation where, “one theory, that illuminates a few facets of its domain rather well, wants to suppress other theories that would illuminate some of the many facets that it leaves in the dark. This theory is neoclassical economics. Because it has been so successful at sidelining other approaches, it also is called “mainstream economics”. (A)

The Progressive Economics Forum is a group blog of mostly Canadian authors drawn from various sectors: academia, trade unions, and the civil service. It publishes frequently, either one post per day, or several posts per day. Many of the posts deal with both national and international monetary policy, economic development, and their intersections with or impact on social policy and social relations more generally. The writing is widely accessible, and the topics are often of urgent importance. I will be checking this one regularly, hence another star. (A)

Radical Perspectives on the Crisis is a blog that features daily news summaries pertaining to the current financial and economic crisis. It is very new and has not posted much thus far.

Rogue Economist Rants (“conventional approaches, unconventional conclusions”) is also a Canadian blog, with a wide international scope. The blogger, who prefers anonymity, says he has been a banker and financial consultant in many countries. A number of the recent posts have to do with the uncertainty and unpredictability of the outcomes of the current crisis, coupled with short but very detailed and thought provoking analyses of current investment trends, production, labour, monetary policy, globalization, and the future of the nation-state. This is definitely worth consulting further — another red star, though Rogue Economist might not like the unintended political connotations.

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China Economics Blog is is written by an academic economist to document the rapidly changing Chinese economy and its local and global implications. It clearly states that it “aims to be politically neutral.” In general, it describes itself as “a place to find news, observations, statistics, information on undergraduate (BSc and BA economics) postgraduate (MSc economics) and academic analysis of important issues for China’s economy including economic growth, inequality, stockmarket, shares, exchange rates, the environment, foreign direct investment, WTO and much more.” (A)

Dani Rodrik’s weblog (“Unconventional thoughts on economic development and globalization”) reinforces the “unconventionality” theme we found above, even if within recognizable parameters. Dani Rodrik is the Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was born and grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. Most of the recent posts focus on global finance, capitalist transformation, and the state of political decision making. Another one that is worth checking very regularly. (A)

Norman Girvan: Caribbean Political Economy , is both a site (in the sense of archived articles and papers) and a blog, depending on which of the tabs you click. Norman Girvan is Professorial Research Fellow at the UWI Graduate Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. There is an abundance of materials on this site dealing with culture and development, globalization and the financial crisis, Caribbean integration, trade arrangements, multilateral financial institutions, as well as special sections devoted to Haiti, Cuba, and Gaza. See more details in the comments below (here, and here). This is an excellent and very rich resource, whose content matches many of the interests of this blog. (A)

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The Becker-Posner Blog is authored by Dr. Gary Becker (a professor in the Departments of Economics and Sociology, and of the Graduate School of Business, at the University of Chicago) and Richard A. Posner who is both a judge and a senior lecturer in the University of Chicago School of Law. It is a widely quoted blog, and as seen below, is also shadowed by its very own, dedicated, counter-blog. They have been blogging since 2004, and many of the recent posts have to do with China, financial regulation, and taxation. (A)

The Anti-Becker-Posner Blog is “a blog devoted to correcting the mistakes, omissions, and downright nonsense on the Becker-Posner-Blog.” The two contributors have chosen anonymity, as the Crit Cowboy and Leisure Theory. Becker and Posner must be delighted to have this running form of anonymous peer review, but I have not, in my limited time perusing the one above, seen much in the way of addressing the criticisms. (A?)

BONOBO LAND must be included, if anything for having such an imaginative and memorable name. While focused mostly on Europe, the blog is concerned with global economic coverage and has a sidebar that aids readers to learn more of the economics news of each of the continents, and select emerging powers. As a resource that seems to be produced mostly with economists in mind, there can be a dizzying array of charts and graphs that really demand explanation and translation for those of us outside of that discipline. On the other hand, the actual text is written in widely accessible language, frequently argumentative in style. It is unclear who or what is behind the blog.

Carpe Diem is a blog by Dr. Mark J. Perry, who is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan. Perry holds two graduate degrees in economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) from George Mason University near Washington, D.C. In addition, he holds an MBA degree in finance from the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Since 1997, Professor Perry has been a member of the Board of Scholars for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a nonpartisan research and public policy institute in Michigan. Many of the recent posts are in the spirit of “how economics affect you,” with materials on home ownership, food, and driving. (A)

The Conscience of a Liberal is Paul Krugman’s blog at the New York Times. I think that says it all really.

Economics Roundtable is not a blog as such, but a very useful aggregator of news and blog posts. What is especially useful about this resource, besides the fact that it might save you the time of setting up your own feeds to aggregate, is its wide international coverage.

Free Exchange is The Economist’s blog. It covers, often international in scope, everything from monetary policy, the banking industry, home ownership, insurance, taxation, financial markets, and posts on the economics blogosphere itself. It posts very frequently, virtually never missing a day, and is worth checking regularly.

Grasping Reality with Both Hands is Brad DeLong’s blog. J. Bradford DeLong is a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, chair of its political economy major, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and was in the Clinton administration as deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. The site has multiple sides to it: the main blog, a teaching blog, and another blog titled Brad DeLong’s Egregious Moderation. Overall, it is a resource that demands a lot of careful attention, having been written for both specialists and laymen alike, depending on the post, on immensely packed pages. DeLong posts very frequently. I need to examine this for a longer period of time to see how useful it might really be for me. (A)

Greg Mankiw’s Blog is oriented toward students of economics. Mankiw, like Rodrik above, is also at Harvard University, where he is a professor of economics and teaches introductory economics among other courses. Mankiw posts daily, sometimes more than once per day, and the posts tend to be short and of general interest for those with a desire to learn more about economics generally, and with specific reference to the current issues of the day. (A)

New Economist is by an anonymous Londoner who says that he has “worked over the years for several governments, an investment bank and a think tank.” The blogger does not post very frequently, maybe a handful of articles per year, but what is there is very interesting in terms of the credit crunch, the possibility of a new Depression, and increasing financial instability.

RGE Global EconoMonitor is the blog of Dr. Nouriel Roubini, a professor of economics and international business at the Stern School of Business at New York University. Prof. Roubini was formerly an advisor to the U.S. Treasury Department; a senior advisor to the Under Secretary for International Affairs; Director of the Office of Policy Development and Review (U.S. Treasury); and, a Senior Economist for International Affairs, at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, all under the Clinton administration. His blog focuses heavily on global economic outlooks, global financial institutions, and is very widely quoted for his initial predictions of the current crisis, called “Dr. Doom” in a New York Times Magazine piece about him, and he is also one of the finalists in TIME’s 100 most influential people listing. See also the videos of Roubini’s many interviews. (A)

Steve Keen’s Debtwatch, focuses on the growth of debt, and the “debt bubble,” in the US and Australia. The papers presented via this blog are quite accessible to most readers (some do require an economics background). Keen’s attacks on neoclassical economics are especially engaging. Steve Keen is an economist at the University of Sydney. (A)

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative is a blog that is authored by Dr. Stephen Gordon, a professor of economics at l’Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada. The blog is in English. This blog is particularly useful for myself, and for other Canadian colleagues, who either find business news reporting to be more like sportscasting commentary or like predictive mumbo-jumbo offered at a tarot card reading. The posts are short, to the point, and produced on a regular basis. (A)

Do you have any favourite economics blogs to recommend?

Please feel free to post links in the Comments section below (note that multiple links may automatically mark your message as spam, and may not appear until it can be retrieved from the spam queue).

12 thoughts on “Economics Blogs in a Time of Crisis: Policy, Development, Globalization, and Transformation

  1. You missed the only blog that deals with a new economic theory, the only one that really explains what’s become of our economy. This theory exposes the relationship between population density, per capita consumption and rising unemployment. This is a relationship that has gone unnoticed by traditional economists who are unwilling to consider the ramifications of population growth.

    If you‘re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, then I invite you to visit either of my web sites at or where you can read the preface, join in the blog discussion and, of course, buy the book if you like.

    Pete Murphy
    Author, “Five Short Blasts”

  2. Many thanks Mr. Murphy — there is of course a lot that I missed, but I am thankful for inputs here. Just so that people can readily access those sites, the links are below: (the blog) (the book website)

    And, a short clip from the author biography, which I found very interesting:

    “Pete Murphy retired in 2004 after working for thirty years in manufacturing and engineering for a major chemical company. During those thirty years, he witnessed first hand the devastating impact that globalization has had on U.S. manufacturing. In 1993 he began formulating his theory of population density-induced decline in per capita consumption….He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and began his career following three years of service as an officer in the U.S. Navy….He currently resides…in southeast Michigan – “ground zero” of the devastation inflicted by blind trade on U.S. manufacturing.”

  3. Hi Mr Forte,

    greetings!I found your blog through the link to mine. I really appreciate your review of blogs. But I must admit I had a good laugh at the decscription of me as becoming a
    ‘notorious free-maketeer and pro-capitalist’ in the 1990s! I could hardly recognise myself! I certainly don’t agree that critical reflection on the lessons to be learnt by the ‘socialist’ experiments in Jamaica and Guyana in the 1970s (which was among the subjects of the lecture you mention, Rethinking Development), and particularly of the use of state enterprises as tools of partonage of the Party in power, is the same as espousing privatization orthodoxy–surely one can be critical of one experience without advocating its polar opposite! The same holds for the differences I had with a particluiar expression of the World Systems theory at the IIR Students Conference to which I think you must be referring.

    Max, if you check out my work, I think if you would be very hard put to find a defence of the free market, neoliberalism and neo-liberal globalisation (a lot of the more recent papers are available as free downloads on my blog, by the way), in fact I have been very critical from the time of the ill-fated liberalisation of the Jamaican currency way back in 1990, and I have been a leading critic of the infamous Economic Partnership Agreement foisted on the countries of the Caribbean by the European Union in 2008 (lots of stuff on this also my blog, BTW, by YT and many other writers).

    Anyway, I could write a lot more about this but only at the risk of boring your readers. In case you are interested, I did a synopsis of the evolution of my work and thinking called “One Thing Lead to Another” which is in the ‘About Norman’ section of the website. So, great to be (back) in touch, thanks for mentioning my blog, hope you will be ‘hopeful’ enough to check out its offerings and that there will be more opportunties for intellectual (and political) exchange on ‘matters of mutual interest’.

    Yours, Norman

    PS If you read only one thing on the blog I beg you to look at “Power Imbalances and Development Knowledge” in the “Caribbean Thought” categrory!

  4. Dear Norman,

    This is one of those occasions where I welcome someone having a laugh at my expense, because the correction you brought here is very important and very valuable. I was a student in the Diploma program in IR that year, attending the conference. It was almost 19 years ago. I remember that the discussions were very polarized — that development was classed as Eurocentric by those on the St. Augustine side, while those on the Mona side seemed very keen to engage in policy-related applied research that took what was then the current situation as a given (under IMF and World Bank mandated structural adjustment). In that light, it seems that both sides placed each other under particular shadows, and sometimes one’s impressions are reinforced through discussion, revision, and repetition among like-minded students.

    It is great then that after so many years, I can finally “re-live” the experience with one of the key actors and have my impressions corrected. I did not know how to correct the post above, without then making your comment seem irrelevant, hence the lengthy strike-through, which will surely be followed by a more thoughtful revision.

    Incidentally, I very much doubt that you could bore either my readers, or really any readers that I can imagine, at least educated ones. Many thanks for pointing out some of the critical articles — I am working my way slowly through that treasure trove that you generously put together, and I will certainly read the essays that you indicated.

    One last little note for now — when the New World Movement emerged in the Caribbean, I doubt that their intended audience would have encompassed an Italian-Canadian (me), and that their work would prove to have a permanently transformative impact on such a person. I have tried to get in touch with Kari Polanyi-Levitt at McGill, to ask about this Montreal chapter of the NWM that I have heard about almost in passing…and you would think that six short city blocks was an inter-galactic distance: it has proven to be impossible for our tracks to ever cross. Therefore I am very grateful again for “accidents” such as these.

    Consider me one of your regular readers.

    Very best wishes and take excellent care of yourself,


  5. Hi Max,

    thanks for our gracious and generous response! Yes I think your characterisation of what happend at the IIR Conference is probably spot on. BTW you would be interested to know that a major conference was held on “The Thought of New World: The Quest for Intelellectual Decolonization”, be the Centre for Caribbean Thought at Mona (Jamaica) U.W.I. in June of 2005. The proceedings are being co-edited for publication (which should be in early 2010) by Prof Brian Meeks at Mona and myself. I gave one of the keynotes at that Conference and would be happy to share it with you but it is not yet in general circulation.

    Re Kari Polanyi-Levitt: I am in regular touch with her and we were together at the Globalization Conference in Cuba less than a month ago! Her book with LLoyd Best “Essays on the Theory of Plantation Economy” has just been published by UWI Press, and in Spanish in Cuba by Casa de las Americas. If you give me your email address I can bring you more up to date with Kari.

    BTW: your webmaster or WordPress should be able to tell you how to get rid of rhe annoying strikethrough. I also use WordPress!

    Cheers, and thanks again.


  6. Hello Norman,

    I have been having a fantastic day downloading and reading several of the papers on your site, mostly focused on New World. I have been looking forward to this for a long time. I will also be checking UWI Press.

    That is quite funny about Polanyi-Levitt, it seems that it’s easier to find her in the Caribbean than in Montreal.

    Also, my email address is

    Very best wishes and many thanks again,


  7. I’d like to suggest “The Baseline Scenario”, a blog by Simon Johnson (former IMF chief economist whose recent article in The Atlantic Monthly “The Quiet Coup” is attracting a lot of attention) and James Kwak. In addition to daily commentary they have a very useful series of posts “Financial Crisis for Beginners.”

    More “ground-level” is theautomaticearth dot blogspot dot com – the pessimistic skepticism of the authors resonates with my own mood, but your mileage may vary. Their graphic design, with a vintage photo at the top of each post, is appealing.

  8. Thank you very much Mistah Charley…for the meantime, let me add those links here until I can revise the post further:



    I have only had a few moments to look at both, but I think you are right, they are quite interesting.

    Then there is your own, at, not so much an economics blog of course, but certainly in line with some of the pessimistic skepticism that you mentioned, and which I share as well of course — pessimistic skepticism, at the very least, is a minimal requirement in this age of utter absurdity, irrationality, unfairness, and injustice.

  9. […] by dlende on April 11, 2009 Open Anthropology has put together a great collection entitled Economics Blogs in a Time of Crisis: Policy, Development, Globalization, and Transformation. From neuroeconomics to bonobo land and political economy, you can find something to fit your taste […]

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