Monday, 6 October 2008

Why I am relaunching Socialist Economic Bulletin - by Ken Livingstone

The original Socialist Economic Bulletin was published, in hard copy form only, from 1990-2000. It gained an extremely high reputation for economic analysis and policy on the left, in the Labour Party and, judging by its subscribers, in far wider circles. That Socialist Economic Bulletin pioneered the possibilities created by modern personal computers to bring hard statistical based analysis to economic policy making on the left but it was published before the internet era and relied on paper circulation.
Socialist Economic Bulletin made its reputation by correctly forecasting the disaster that would follow from British membership of the ERM, published articles on women and the economy, was one of the first to draw attention to the sustained rise of the Chinese economy, wrote on world poverty and analysed the much less serious credit crunch of its time, as well as publishing regular analysis of the British economy and the appropriate policies. Socialist Economic Bulletin set a standard of statistical excellence, and therefore ability to analyse economic events, that made it a respected reference point in the discussion on economic policy. It showed the left was able to win the debate on the economy not by dogma or rhetoric but by being factually correct and rigorous. Those who want a short review of the history of Socialist Economic Bulletin can find it on pages 275-278 of Andrew Hosken's book. [1]
The reason for relaunching Socialist Economic Bulletin now is evident. The global financial crisis is the most serious in the world economy since 1929. Many of the trends already analysed in the earlier Socialist Economic Bulletin continue today in a stronger form today. Today the internet makes it both easier to produce, and more rapid to circulate, socialist economic analysis.
Socialist Economic Bulletin will have its own viewpoint. But it is open to all on the left who want to contribute to the formation of economic policy.

[1] Andrew Hoskens, Ken, Arcadia Books London 2008.

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