About Paradigm Change

In the first section you will find an introduction to the concept of economic paradigm, including also a brief history of past paradigms, and centred on the realisation that the current paradigm, the neoliberal one, is close to its demise.  In all these essays history is seen in relation to current events, therefore the past is mixed with the present (as these blogs originate as presentations for an audience mainly interested in the present and near future).  After the introductory section, and before we get to a more detailed description of the most recent paradigms (section 3 and 4) there is a section on the challenge coming from China, and the changes to the world order that this challenge is likely to bring about.

This is the sequence of the essays that you will find:

  • 1) ‘What is an economic paradigm’ – introduction to the subject of what is an economic paradigm, and why we are in the middle of a paradigm change.
  • 2) The Challenge coming from China – this section consists of two blogs, ‘Petro-Dollar vs Golden Yuan’ and ‘The Belt and Road Initiative’, illustrating the projects being developed in China and exploring how they are set to bring about major transformations in the world economy.
  • 3) ‘The Keynesian Economic Paradigm’ – understanding our recent economic history and why the time may be ripe for a come back of a similar arrangement.
  • 4) ‘The Neoliberal Economic Paradigm’ – understanding the current economic paradigm and why it is coming to an end. In order to further explore this subject, there are three additional essays:  a summary of the book ‘The Global Minotaur’, an essay on the Eurozone crisis, and one on the housing bubble in the UK.
  • 5) Transition to a new paradigm, an essay on the current time of turmoil and transition: envisioning a rational solution, and ‘guessing’ what to expect in the coming years
  • 6) Slightly off topic, but very relevant for people interested in monetary issues, ‘Understanding currencies and their hierarchies: proxy, local, national and international

In addition, coming up soon:

  • An essay on the role of technology in the unfolding of economic paradigms: a brief overview of the past, and an anticipation of the central role of ‘green’ technologies in the next ‘likely-to-come’ economic paradigm

Although it is best to read these essays in sequence, they originated as self-contained presentations and each of them can be understood on its own terms.  There are obviously some overlaps.

HOW THIS BLOG CAME ABOUT

This blog is an offshoot of my work as organizer of the Positive Money Hammersmith group.  In this virtual space I have collected a series of essays accompanying all the presentations that I gave to the group since August 2015. These essays originated as a reaction to the extremely poor (and misleading) quality of the information and education coming from official sources, such as the mainstream media, academia, and the political debate.

Since the financial collapse of 2008, and even more after the outbreak of the Eurozone crisis, I have been on a mission to find out what has really been happening to our economy.  Fortunately, online I have been able to find an abundance of good articles, blogs, books, and youtube presentations given by economists, journalists, academics and political/geopolitical analysts of various orientations and nationalities. At the same time that I was conducting this ‘personal’ investigation, I became active with Positive Money (an organization campaigning for a thorough reform of our monetary system) and after a while I started sharing with my fellow campaigners the information I had been gathering.  Each time I had enough material to gain a satisfactory understanding of a particular subject, I would make a synthesis of it and organize it into a presentation for our local group, the Hammersmith group in London.

As the public in our monthly meetings tend to ask many follow-up questions and are curious to know my sources in order to continue their learning process on their own, I have created this website, in which I have gathered all the relevant material and related links, and in which hopefully we will be able to continue online the real life conversations that we start in our monthly meet ups.

Although I initially chose the subjects of my presentations with no particular order, once arranged logically and chronologically, they tend to form a coherent picture, like the pieces of a puzzle coming together.

By doing this operation of research, synthesis, and further elaboration to slot everything together, I have discovered that the best way to understand how the world economy (in combination with politics and geopolitics) – really works is by taking a historical/institutional approach.  In other words, the best way to grasp this complex subject is by understanding it not in abstract terms (i.e. the way textbooks teach it), but by examining how it actually unfolded over the years – that is, as a succession of socioeconomic paradigms.  Our current paradigm, neoliberalism, seems to be running out of possibilities, and on its way to being replaced, hence the name of the website, ‘Paradigm Change’.

Disclaimer: The majority of this work is not original, it is a synthesis of works by other authors, and I have done my best to quote all my sources.  I am not an economist by trade but I did take quite a few exams in economics as an undergraduate, therefore I have a general understanding of the subject. Enough to be able to tell what is good stuff and what isn’t. The part of my work that is original is the synthesis, the interpretation of events, the linking of other people’s works in a meaningful sequence.  The objective of my work is essentially divulgation:  as a person who has done her homework to understand the current crisis, I am organizing and passing on what I have learned, so that many people in my situation (but who may not have the time or the knowledge to go through the same research) may be able to take a convenient short cut.  Often the public in our Positive Money Hammersmith meet-ups ask me:  ‘how did you come to learn all this interesting stuff?’  ‘Is there a book where I can find this material?’  And my answer used to be: ‘Eh, I wish it were that easy….’

Well, now all the material is in one place.  And more will come.  I hope you will find the reading both useful and enjoyable.

Thank you for joining me!

Costanza Picchioni