Browsing by Author "Jahangir, Junaid"
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ItemAmplifying heterodox economics with video clips(2021) Jahangir, JunaidMany ECON 101 students do not major in Economics partly because of the way it is taught through the chalk and talk method and partly due to the subject content that emphasizes abstract models over contemporary issues including climate change, inequality, and financial crises. The critique is of both content and presentation. The objective therefore in this paper is to address both these issues. To this end a review of salient ideas of the Reardon et al. (2018) textbook Introducing a New Economics is undertaken and paired up with video clips from movies and cartoons to amplify their reach. ItemAre there realistic possibilities for a higher “batting” average? On improving residential energy efficiency in Canada(2013) Ryan, David L.; Jahangir, JunaidThe main use of energy in the residential sector in Canada is for space heating. Reductions in residential energy use, therefore, are likely to be achieved primarily through energy-saving retrofits, such as improved insulation. Reasons advanced to explain the foot-dragging of the residential sector in this regard are examined here, along with various policy options. Canadian survey data from 2003 are used to examine and compare the most energy-inefficient households who saw no need for retrofits with other households who provided a similar response, with a view to assessing whether there are factors that can be exploited to increase the uptake of such retrofits. The results suggest there is likely to be no quick fix. In the absence of large retrofit subsidies, with their accompanying free-rider problem, or a multi-pronged strategy that includes a whole array of policy instruments, including one that changes the relative importance of energy costs in household budgets, the outlook for sizeable improvements in residential energy efficiency in Canada via residential retrofits does not appear to be overly promising. ItemBook review: Blanchard, O. and D. Rodrik (2021), Combating inequality: rethinking government’s role(2022) Jahangir, JunaidIntroductory mainstream microeconomics textbooks like Mankiw et al. (2020) relegate the discussion on inequality towards the end of the book’s chapters, where the text focuses more on poverty reduction instead of the contemporary discussions on the Top 1 per cent and wealth taxes. Often the topic is not addressed at the ECON 101 level. Anecdotally, some economists believe that the concern with inequality rests predominantly on envy. This is why the book Combating Inequality edited by Blanchard and Rodrik is pressingly significant, as it comprises 29 articles, which converge towards the consensus that inequality must be effectively addressed beyond poverty alleviation (p. xiii). The articles are short and readable and can be easily assigned in undergraduate classes including ECON 101 to spur discussion and interest in one of the most pressing issues of our times. ItemBook review: Fullbrook, E. and Morgan, J. (2020), Modern monetary theory and its critics(2022) Jahangir, JunaidThe book edited by Fullbrook and Morgan is a collection of articles published in Issue 89 of the journal, Real-World Economics Review. It assembles eighteen articles from experts who offer their vision or criticism of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) that has been popular in the media given fiscal austerity, stagnating wages, rising inequality, and climate change. This review focuses on salient ideas that could be presented to economics students in a way that would challenge mainstream viewpoints including that budget deficits crowd out private investment, that government spending is constrained by taxes and borrowing, or that money is solely created by the central bank. Another motivation for this review comes in the context of the economic crises faced by countries like Pakistan that reel under currency depreciation, dependence on imports for food, medicines, and energy, and the unhelpful conditions stipulated by IMF loans. The idea is to explore whether MMT has any hope to offer such countries or whether it is predominately applicable to the U.S. whose dollar serves as the world reserve currency. Thus, the key ideas presented in this book are systematically delineated below. ItemBook review: Jin, Keyu (2023): The new China playbook(2023) Jahangir, JunaidKeyu Jin is an academic who has worked with the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the IMF, and the World Bank. She provides an analysis as someone who is intimately familiar with both a state-regulated China and Western neoliberal institutions that prize free markets. I have found her book to be an important read in understanding the Chinese miracle that traverses the binary between socialism and capitalism. Her book shows that economic development does not necessarily depend on the prescriptions of neoclassical economics of free markets, unfettered trade, minimal government, and private enterprise. ItemBook review: Krugman, P. (2020), Arguing with zombies(2022) Jahangir, JunaidAs an undergraduate student in the 1990s, Paul Krugman's work, along with that of Joseph Stiglitz, was instrumental in my studies in economics. As an instructor in the 2020s, I was excited to find that the Nobel Laureate's book Arguing with Zombies, which is mainly based on his New York Times columns, helped to make sense of the economic orientation and situation in my home province, Alberta, where the United Conservative Party (UCP) came to power in 2019. The UCP government was extremely concerned about the previous government raising the minimum hourly wage by more than C$4 in fewer than three years but showed no qualms in reducing corporate tax rates by 4 percentage points, eliminating the carbon tax and cutting spending. This approach continued through the COVID-19 pandemic, as the government cut the post-secondary budget by 20 per cent over a four-year plan, and proposed a 3 per cent wage rollback for overworked nurses in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, while announcing investments to the tune of billions of Canadian dollars in Keystone XL, a risky and unnecessary oil pipeline. ItemBook review: Piketty, Thomas (2021), Time for socialism(2021) Jahangir, JunaidBlanchard and Rodrik (2021) edited a collection of articles in their book Combating Inequality that featured the voices of cutting-edge scholars like Lucas Chancel, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, amongst others. The editors expressed that economists should be at the forefront of tackling inequality instead of making the usual naysaying arguments that ‘we can’t afford it’, ‘we don’t have enough evidence’ or that ‘incentives will be distorted’. Conspicuously absent was the voice of Thomas Piketty, whose book Capital in the Twenty-First Century brought the topic of inequality into mainstream public discourse. His seminal work has been challenged in mainstream newspapers through arguments including that ‘inequality did not rise’ and that ‘inequality does not matter’ (Grisold/Theine 2020: 1082). Therefore, it is heartening to see his latest book, which is a collection of his newspaper articles from 2016 to 2021. Piketty’s book transcends the mainstream naysaying that is stuck on ‘why is economic inequality bad; how is it harmful?’ to offer a vision for the future based on socialism. His book reflects his academic research on inequality, which he has carefully presented to the broader public over the years. This is significant especially for ECON 101 students, who are either not taught about inequality or indoctrinated with the mainstream neoclassical perspective that the whole issue is moot or simply based on envy. Thus, assigning articles, which he has collected in one place in this book, is a welcome approach towards teaching undergraduate economics students about one of the most pressing issues of our times after climate change. ItemBook review: Post neo-liberal economics(2022) Jahangir, JunaidThe book, edited by Edward Fullbrook and Jamie Morgan, is a collection of articles published in the Real-World Economics Review (Vol. 96, 2021). The book assembles 15 essays from leading heterodox economists who offer their vision of economics beyond economic theory and the current hegemonic system of neoliberalism. This collection of essays provides an insight into ideas that could offer an alternative to the standard principles of economics in the Mankiw et al. (2020a, 2020b) textbook (and its variant versions) which is singled out for its global reach and because it forms the basis of the critique of several heterodox economists (Davis et al., 2019; Goodwin, 2014). This review focuses on salient ideas that could be presented to ECON 101 students. Thus, the key ideas presented in Post Neo-Liberal Economics, which, by the way, I fully endorse and recommend, are systematically delineated below. ItemBook review: Thomas Picketty, A brief history of equality(2023) Jahangir, JunaidThe issue of inequality has received attention from top economists, whose voices have been projected through the book edited by Blanchard and Rodrik (2021). The editors make a strong case by arguing that economists should be at the forefront of combating inequality instead of making the usual naysaying arguments that "we can't afford it", "we don't have enough evidence" or that "incentives will be distorted" (p. xx). In a Canadian context, Osberg (2018) emphasizes addressing inequality as a pressing issue, stating that the Top 1% instigate narratives in their favour through think tanks and policy institutes. He proposes policies to combat inequality including guaranteed annual income, raising the top tax rates, and supporting higher wages. However, Piketty seems to have had the greatest impact on highlighting the issue of inequality, especially in mainstream newspapers, where his work has been challenged through arguments including that "inequality did not rise" and that "inequality does not matter" (Grisold and Theine, 2020). Piketty (2021) counters the mainstream, arguing that if we keep stating that it is impossible to make the richest individuals pay, we run the risk of future rebellions. In making this stand, he expresses that "there is no universal law of economics" and that everyone must "draw there own conclusions without allowing themselves to be intimidated by the well-argued opinions of others" (p. 42). ItemBook review: Value(s): building a better world for all(2022) Jahangir, JunaidMark Carney served as the Governor of the Bank of Canada from 2008–2013, and as the Governor of the Bank of England from 2013–2020. In doing so, he led the former through the financial crisis, and headed the latter prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic. Thus, it is not surprising that in addition to the existential threat of climate change, he addresses financial crises and pandemics as the three main challenges of our times, amidst a backdrop of public distrust, globalisation, and rapid technological change (p.2, p.5). In the book, Carney argues that markets are crucial for finding solutions to the most pressing problems of our times (p.130, p.473). While he upholds the dynamism and efficiency of markets for prosperity and wellbeing, he qualifies that their effectiveness is based on ‘the values of society’ (p.130, p.474), which include solidarity, fairness, kindness, and sustainability, and accordingly, must be nurtured to sustain an inclusive capitalism (p.4, p.139). He views these values as institutions themselves and deems them more important than geography or trade in explaining growth (p.473). Additionally, he cautions against market fundamentalism that depletes social capital (p.9). ItemEasy expectations and racial bias in economics instructor ratings(2023) Jahangir, JunaidThe objective in this paper is to investigate the determinants of Economics instructor ratings in two universities in Edmonton based on the data available from the Rate My Professors (RMP) website. Based on random effects and multi-level regression analysis, it is found that instructor ratings are predominantly driven by difficulty level and grades received by students. Additionally, ethnic instructors receive significantly lower ratings, which is explained less by accent and more by race. If the reported difficulty level of a course and the grade received by a student capture “easy expectations” on the part of students in the RMP data, and if instructor ratings are driven by a combination of such "easy expectations" and racial bias on the part of students, then the case for using average instructor ratings for annual faculty evaluations is weakened. ItemHomosexuality: the emerging new battleground in Islam(2018) Jahangir, Junaid; Abdullatif, HusseinAs in the case of Jews and Christians, the topic of homosexuality is not easy for Muslims. Amongst various Christian denominations, it has led to rifts within congregations. The conversation in Christian and Jewish circles in North America has happened in the context of the LGBTQ and civil rights movements over several decades. However, the conversation in Islam, specifically in the North American context, is relatively new. In Muslim countries, homosexuality has conventionally been viewed as a behavioural trait in the context of pederasty and aggressive desire in gender-segregated societies. This, however, is being challenged by a growing number of Muslim youth, especially in the West, who do not wish to perpetuate a behavioural paradigm, in which one marries to keep face and have sexual encounters with members of the same gender on the side. Muslim LGBTQ groups and individuals have increasingly become socially and politically visible as technology and media have allowed them to network and share resources. ItemImplied cases for Muslim same-sex unions(2010) Jahangir, JunaidConcerning contemporary homosexuality, are we Moslems reading the holy verses and Hadith in a way that calls upon all our knowledge and spiritual resources? Putting aside extreme penalties, mainstream Muslim opinions on the subject of how our communities should deal with homosexuality are made up of counseling reparative therapy and marriage or prescribing celibacy. Neither scientific consensus nor human suffering seems to have motivated a re-evaluation of the Muslim scriptures. While inter-sexuals have been accommodated by the highest of both Sunni and Shia scholarly bodies, gays and lesbians continue to be viewed as having made a deliberate morally wrong choice. ItemIntroducing future studies to ECON 101 students(2022) Jahangir, JunaidThe objective in this paper is to introduce ECON 101 students, who usually learn about stylized neoclassical economics models, to the pressing issues of our times including climate change and economic inequality. In this regard a review of the book, Making Sense of the Future by interdisciplinary scholar, Rick Szostak, is undertaken and paired with ancillary material based on videos and articles. Students will learn that working for a better future does not mean a lifetime of limitless sacrifice, and that they can use their education to push for meaningful change in the world. ItemInvestigating the Islamic perspective on homosexuality(2016) Jahangir, Junaid; Abdullatif, HusseinIn his 2006 article in the Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (JIMA), Dr. Ahmed qualified the predominant psychiatric view on “homosexuality” by recourse to opinions prevalent within reparative therapy circles. Conservative Muslim thinkers, online counselors and other professionals continue to hold opinions similar to those delineated by Dr. Ahmed in his journal article. We use his paper as a focal point to critique the general opinions upheld by conservative Muslim thinkers by alluding to the harms associated with reparative therapy and by rejecting the unreasonable prescription of permanent celibacy. We critique Dr. Ahmed’s association of “homosexuality” with mental health issues, fatal diseases, alcoholism and illicit sexual intercourse. Investigating the Muslim tradition, we encourage conservative Muslim leaders to facilitate Muslim gays and lesbians in their legitimate human need for intimacy, affection and companionship. ItemIslamic law and Muslim same-sex unions(2016) Jahangir, Junaid; Abdullatif, HusseinThis book is written with the objective of reasonably addressing the need of Muslim gays and lesbians for a life which involves intimacy, affection and companionship within the confines of a legal contract. Contemporary conservative Muslim leaders unreasonably promote false marriages with straight spouses, failing which they prescribe the “solution” of permanent celibacy as a “test.” This book delves into an extensive scholarship on the same sources that conservative Muslim leaders draw on—the Qur'an, Hadith and jurisprudence. It is argued that the primary sources of Muslim knowledge addressed sexual acts between the same gender in the context of inhospitality, exploitation, coercion and disease, but not true same-sex unions; past Muslim scholarship is silent on the issue of sexual orientation and Muslim same-sex unions. The arguments of contemporary conservative Muslim leaders are deconstructed and the case for Muslim same-sex unions is made based on jurisprudential principles and thorough arguments from within the Muslim tradition. ItemJohn Komlos and the seven dwarfs(2022) Jahangir, JunaidThe neoclassical paradigm leaves students with the simplistic understanding that the contribution of essential workers is far less compared to that of CEOs and financial executives. This teaching is crystallized through principle 8, which associates living standards with productivity. The objective in this paper is to develop a renewed perspective by projecting the ideas of John Komlos through the song of the seven dwarves. Such an approach allows to retain student interest, make economic content relatable, and facilitate a nuanced understanding. The song lyrics help advance a renewed perspective that higher productivity does not always lead to higher living standards. ItemA note on teaching economic inequality(2023) Jahangir, JunaidThis note is motivated by rising inequality during the COVID pandemic and by calls from student groups in the aftermath of the financial crisis to address contemporary issues including economic inequality. Three textbook options are reviewed to showcase that they do not provide a comparative look on policies to combat inequality. Moreover, the CORE textbook that has been promoted as an alternative to standard textbooks is fraught with information overload and advanced concepts. It is emphasized that the preponderant academic position is shifting towards seriously addressing and combating economic inequality. Thus, lesson plans based on three video clips and Blanchard and Rodrik (2021) are showcased to address economic inequality. Overall, Disney animation clips sustain student interest, retention, and participation more effectively. ItemReviewed by Junaid B. Jahangir - Making money work for us(2022) Jahangir, JunaidThe main MMT ideas encapsulated in both Kelton (2020) and Wray (2022) are the same, through the presentation is different. While Kelton (2020) structures her book on dispelling six myths around deficits and their supposed impact, Wray (2022) focuses considerably more on the nature of money before delving into policy issues. This focus on issues pertaining to money was missing in Kelton (2020). Thus, Wray (2022) is an excellent complement to Kelton (2020) to introduce students to MMT, as it adds a grounding on issues pertaining to money to complement the dispelling of deficit myths.