SCOTLAND’S first Festival of Economics brings together Economists from Australia, England, Germany, Ireland and Scotland to discuss the fundamentals of our economy and its impact on our society.

We all know our economy is broken, and our first night of talks are from economists, and others, who will explain why they think the system needs a radical overhaul.

Steven Kinsella, economics professor, University Of Limerick, joins us live from the US along with Dirk Ehnts, adjunct lecturer, Torrens University, live from Amsterdam.

We are also joined by Australian-based English economist Steven Hail, dialling in at some absurdly early hour and regular National contributor Richard Murphy joins us from home.

We also know that our audience have ideas on how to fix our economy, and our sessions on our opening night are designed to hear from the audience at the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre and our online audience. Our event is all about sharing knowledge.

Tonight takes direct inspiration from the English economist Joan Robinson who said, “the purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists”. This perfectly sums up our “Demystifying Scotland’s Economy” tagline.

Today, we start with a light-hearted introduction to politics with thoughts from Irish comedian Tadhg Hickey and music from Eric Gudmunsen.

We then:

  • Consider and question the power neoclassical economists have over policy-making and our day-to-day lives
  • Look at what goes into (and what is left out) of economic models lthe important and often very misunderstood differences between being a currency issuer and a currency user
  • Discuss what innovation means in Scotland’s modern economy
  • Cover the weird and not so wonderful things that make the UK economy unique
  • Place the economy in the confines of the ecosystem and
  • Discuss the economy as an unpredictable dynamic natural system, not the “machine” of neoclassical economics.

We close with an hour-long conversation with former first minister Alex Salmond. Split into three parts, the conversation focuses exclusively on his economic journey. We discuss Alex’s decision to study economics at St Andrews and his early career as an economist.

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We then discuss the key economic moments as the first minister, including the 2008 Financial Crash, and the economic arguments that underpinned and some say undermined the 2014 referendum.

We finish by covering Alex’s view of Scotland’s and the UK’s economic future. And then a bit more music and plenty more offline discussion.

Today is designed to introduce the challenges we face in a world that almost exclusively listens to and follows one line of economic thought. We challenge that narrative as we start to demystify the Scottish economy and the world of economics.