Monthly Archives: January 2015

Could do better: why we must set young minds free

Wow – wonderful, powerful, insightful writing. Cutting to the quick. Hugely excited to discover Vanessa Spedding and her thinking. Thanks to a Twitter follow – would you believe?

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Back to the chalk-faceIn the same week that my 16 year old son began assessing his options for subjects and sixth form colleges for next year, his 11 year old brother made a bold but flawed attempt to bunk off school, managing to duck away from the school bus and secrete himself in the local churchyard with his packed lunch and a plan to sit out the day under a bush.

The closeness of the school community and his older brother’s vigilance meant that his absence was spotted and reported within an hour; to his chagrin he was back in school for second lesson. But there were insights to be taken from this traumatic, if brief experience.

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Book reading benefits

Vienna's Shakespeare and Co bookshop

Shakespeare and Co

Fraudcast News has been out and about for three years now, making its way into the world without the benefits of a conventional publishing push behind.

Without me exactly knowing how – the free PDF has been downloaded more than 10,000 times now and I’ve managed to sell a few hundred paperback copies both online and face to face.

Promotional work has been somewhat haphazard – depending on my attention and energy levels. Probably the best means of all has been by doing book readings – organised on the hoof on my own or with fellow enthusiasts for improving journalism and governance practices.

Fraudcast News on tour - in Vienna

Fraudcast News on tour

Last Thursday, during a visit to meet Professor Clive Spash, Chair of Public Policy and Governance at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, I had a chance to do a reading at the bookshop Shakespeare and Co in Vienna’s Sterngasse street.

It was one of the most stimulating and enjoyable I’ve done – a lively audience of 30 or so people slotted in among the books and tables of this great venue. It’s a reminder of what independent bookshops can be.

Writing a book is a solitary experience, meaning successful readings such as this one are a treat. There were some excellent questions from the floor and what seemed like some genuine engagement and exchange of ideas.

So – if you’re in Vienna and you fancy some English-language reading material then I would recommend Shakespeare and Co. Its eclectic mix of books had me hooked – I’d have been happy to spend the evening browsing if it hadn’t been for having to do the reading.

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Vienna meets Fraudcast News

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Economics teaching failing students and society, says Prof

University economics departments around the world are failing their students by ignoring the real-world effects of their discipline, among them rolling financial crises and environmental destruction, according to Professor Clive Spash.
“It’s basically a failure, we’re training economists who don’t understand the real economy,” said Spash, Chair of Public Policy and Governance at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
Despite recent efforts by some students to overhaul the way their courses are taught, incumbent thinking reigns on.
“The students have got to take direct action. They’ve got to make sure that the faculties, the economics departments, really understand that they are failing them. They are failing them in their education. They’re teaching them mathematical formalistic models that have no bearing on the real economy.”
Among the problems are ideas that unconstrained markets might remedy growing inequality or that economic growth and people buying more stuff could somehow bring about a recovery.
“If you want to really learn about economics maybe don’t go to an economics department, go somewhere else,” Spash said.

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Fraudcast News reading in Vienna

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22 January at 19:30–21:00

Shakespeare and Co, Sterngasse 2, 1010, Vienna

Find all the details here

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