In Economics, Theory of Value

Juan Pablo Mateo has written a rare, and in these times possibly unique book, whose importance goes well beyond the promise of the title, because through the prism of the Spanish economy, it offers the reader an understanding of the economic malaise not just of that important European country but of Europe, and beyond Europe the industrialised world of which it is only one part.

The book rises to the challenge which all those clamouring for a ‘Real- world’ approach poses, for economic thought. These include the many student protest movements that came together in the ‘Rethinking Economics’ initiative,1 demanding a break from the arid mathematical methods which failed the elementary test of any sound theory: they did not predict reality, as the financial crash of 2008 demonstrated.

They also include the growing disquiet in the economics profession that led to the creation of the Real-world Economics Review,2 published by the World Economics Association with over 13,000 members, and a growing US counterpart, led by George DeMartino and Deidre McLoskey, which has crystallised in growing calls for an ethical dimen- sion to economics.

But most of all they include the general public, whose distrust of offi- cial economic discourse is very much part of the violent recomposition of politics represented by such huge movements of the left as Corbynism, Melanchon’s France Insoumise or Podemos in Spain itself, and, omi- nously, by new movements of the right such as Trumpism or Orbanism.

Cite as: Freeman, A. 2019. ‘Real World Economics as it should be’. Foreword to Mateo Tomé, J.P. The Theory of Crisis and the Great Recession in Spain. London:Palgrave McMillan

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