Joerg Huffschmid had been one of the most prolific German economists – bringing political economy to the forefront and maintaining in academic life: teaching and research and also in politics a perspective that had been frequently countered by hostility or at least lack of understanding. He worked in various fields.
In respect of political challenges he can be seen as one of the core founders of a Group of academics that published annually an expertise, challenging mainstream economics and elaborating answers favouring the interests of workers and a wider societal interest (surely not the general interest as it usually meant not least to stand against the interest of the minorities of the mainstream.
On an anecdotal level I remember the work on of these alternative expertises – some long time ago. The work on these alternatives had been always also answering official documents and forecasts. And as it goes, such views in standard analysis may actually be good in terms of pure calculation, but it applies a strange rule: Ceteris paribus (meaning something like “what we say applies only under the condition that nothing changes”) but with this clause they protect themselves from any notion of reality as reality permanently changes. In consequence the official predictions usually had been wrong, but …
Well, one year it happened that the forecast actually performed pretty well, had been correct. This actually needed some special explanation – and at least one year later it had been clear: “correct by accident”.
(it has to be mentioned that such official analysis is of course not only limited by not taken reality sufficiently into account but also by a total neglect of the complexity of realities – something that is currently for instance discussed as matter of “Going Beyond GDP” (a debate that has in itself a very limited outlook).
Although working as political economist – in Germany and also on the European level – in a variety of fields Joerg’s focus can be seen in the political economy of financial markets.
His death and of last year leaves us with a major loss.
The Scientific Council of ATTAC, the Working Group for Alternative Economic Policies, the EuroMemo group and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation advertised this week a prize of 2,000 EURO. It will be awarded every two years and applicants who finalised their thesis (in German language) with a relevant scientific orientation in 2011 can apply for this round.