Radio 4 listeners got a sneak preview of TUC senior economist-turned Newsnight economics editor Duncan Weldon last week, and a chance to assess whether those concerns about the likelihood of him bringing more left-wing bias with him to Newsnight are likely to be borne out or not.
He presented an edition of Analysis called Why Minsky Matters.
The Minsky in question was the American post-Keynesian economist Hyman Minsky, and in the course of the programme we heard from various Keynsians, neo-Keynsians and post-Keynsians - namely George Magnus, Professor Steve Keen and Laurence Meyer, as well as Adair Turner and Wendy Carlin from the Keynesian Institute for New Economic Thinking. Each and every one of them is on what might be called the 'left side' of the present economic/political debate. Not one of them had a bad thing to say about Minsky's ideas. And neither did Duncan.
The one concession to non-Keynesian thought came with a brief (less than one minute) contribution from Joseph Salerno, an Austrian School economist who said Minsky got some things right and some thinks wrong. It would have been good to have heard about some of those things Minsky may have got wrong in more detail, because this Analysis gave every impression that he was right in every respect.
Professor Salerno was then dismissed by Duncan Weldon in a way that doesn't bode well for his career on Newsnight. (Duncan said the economist who inspired the institute where Professor Salerno works isn't mentioned these days. Unlike Minksy.)
The most ominous bit though came when Duncan related some of Minksy's ideas to the present UK government's Help to Buy scheme. Guess who he invited to comment on it? Former Labour MP Kitty Ussher, who wasn't supportive of the scheme.
OK, Duncan Weldon was making an argument for the importance of Minsky, and doing so - explicitly - in his old job as TUC senior economist rather than in his new job as a BBC reporter, so this out-and-out bias is still defensible. But woe betide him if he does something like this after he begins reporting for Newsnight!
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