Thursday, 13 June 2013, 6:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

Taking Modern Money Apart

Professor Edward J Nell, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli

"Money just isn't what it used to be", my grandmother used to observe with a sigh...  We could add today, and soon it won't be any longer what it now is!  Money (and its relatives) are evolving, fast, in response to the revolution in information and communications and this evolution is certainly causing problems.  But it is also opening opportunities for really significant changes in the economy.

professor-edward-j-nell

Edward J. Nell is an American economist and a professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City.  Nell has been a member of The New School faculty since 1969, and has held the position of Malcolm B. Smith Professor of Economics since 1990.

Nell's contributions are in the field of Macroeconomic Theory, Monetary Analysis and Finance, Economic Methodology and Philosophy, Transformational Growth and Development. He has written twenty books and his articles on economic theory and methodology have appeared in leading journals like the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Economic Literature, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Eastern Economic Journal, Review of Political Economy, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Analysis, and Social Research.

Nell is known for his critical view of the methodological and philosophical foundations of Neo-Classical Economics (what Nell calls "free-market economists"), examined in his best known book Rational Economic Man (Cambridge University Press, 1975) and coauthored with English rationalist philosopher Martin Hollis.  Nell is also the originator of the General Theory of Transformational Growth. The full development of the General Theory of Transformational Growth came in the 90s, and was published as The General Theory of Transformational Growth (Cambridge University Press, 1998). The methodology/philosophy which underlies it is a form of realism, based on filling in 'conceptual truths' by doing fieldwork and then building models of solidly based institutionally grounded relationships.

In a collection of essays in honor of Edward J. Nell published in 2004, Argyrous, Forstater and Mongiovi wrote:

"Nell has been pushing the envelope of economic theory for more than forty years. His writings and teaching reflect the intellectual values cherished by the German-speaking émigré economists who formed the backbone of the Graduate Faculty at its inauguration in the early 1930s — methodological eclecticism, a critical outlook toward conventional economic thinking, and a powerful commitment to the idea that the ultimate purpose of social science is to assist the achievement of progressive outcomes."

Nell's intellectual breadth is indicated by the range of issues to which he has made important contributions: Growth Theory, the Capital Theory Debate, Monetary Economics, Macroeconomic Theory and Policy, Drug Policy, Structural Economic Change, Economic Methodology, Economic History, Analytic Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Knowledge.

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alderman-professor-michael-mainelli

Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli is Emeritus Mercers' School Memorial Professor of Commerce at Gresham College, having held the chair from 2005 to 2009. His first degree was in Government from Harvard, followed by mathematics and engineering studies at Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from the London School of Economics in chaotic systems, where he was also a Visiting Professor.

Professor Mainelli is Executive Chairman of Z/Yen, the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank and venture firm, which he co-founded in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology. A qualified accountant (FCCA), securities professional (FCSI), computer specialist (FBCS) and management consultant (FIC), Michael began his career as a research scientist in aerospace (rockets) and computing (architecture & mapping). He later became a senior partner with accountants BDO Binder Hamlyn directing global consulting projects. During the 1990s he worked for the UK Ministry of Defence as Corporate Development Director for Europe’s then largest R&D firm, the Defence Evaluation & Research Agency leading to two privatisations. Career highlights include directing Z/Yen’s Long Finance initiative with Gresham College and the City of London Corporation asking “when would we know our financial system is working?” as well as creating the Global Financial Centres Index, Global Intellectual Property Index, London Accord and Farsight Award. Michael also conceived and produced the first complete digital map of the world in 1983, Mundocart (a 1980’s Google Earth), and the $20 million Geodat consortium cartography project.

Michael is non-executive Director of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UK’s national body for standards and laboratories), AIM-listed Sirius Minerals plc (potash mining), AIM-listed Wishbone Gold Plc; Alderman for Broad Street Ward (elected) at the City of London Corporation; Almoner for Christ’s Hospital School; Trustee of International Fund for Animal Welfare. Michael has held numerous advisory posts, for example with Hitachi UK, City University and HM Treasury. Michael won a 1996 UK Foresight Challenge award for the Financial Laboratory, 2003 UK Smart Award for prediction software, 2005 British Computer Society Director of the Year, 2011 Technology Strategy Board Challenge Award for financial avatars, and was awarded Gentiluomo of the Associazione Cavalieri di San Silvestro in 2011. Michael is a Liveryman, Worshipful Company of World Traders, Freeman, Watermen & Lightermen, and represents the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies.

Michael has published over 40 journal articles, 150 commercial articles and four books. Michael’s humorous risk/reward management novel, Clean Business Cuisine: Now and Z/Yen, written with Ian Harris, was a Sunday Times Book of the Week in 2000; Accountancy Age described it as “surprisingly funny considering it is written by a couple of accountants”. Their third co-authored book, The Price of Fish: A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions, based on his Gresham lectures, won the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Finance, Investment & Economics Gold Prize. Michael plays bagpipes, loves skiing and sailing and, with his wife, Elisabeth, he races and restores the 1923 Thames Sailing Barge Lady Daphne and sits on the world’s oldest sailing racing body, the Thames Match Committee. With an international family, Michael speaks English, German, French and Italian poorly, but even worse Spanish and Chinese.

To access all of Professor Mainelli's previous Gresham College lectures, please click here.

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Transcript

13 June 2013

Taking Modern Money Apart
Professor Edward J Nell
Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli

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