WINOL: Features Archive

At the age of just 15, Paul Blackburn was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. Presented, edited and produced by Tom Morgan.

Media Law - Year Three Notes Archive

A collection of posts looking at media law, including tips for journalists, case examples and information on the various codes of conduct. Click here for more.

American Election 2012 - US Embassy Report

Myself, Lee Jarvis, Sam Sheard and Kirsty McDonagh spent the evening at the US Embassy as part of WINOL's coverage of the 2012 American election.

Work Experience: The One Show

This blog post serves as a summary of what I got up to during my time at the BBC and also provides some information on how the One Show is run.

Work Experience: PC Advisor

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The first of these placements was at PC Advisor in London.

Work Experience: Basingstoke Gazette

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The second of these placements was at the Basingstoke Gazette.

HCJ Notes Archive: Year One and Year Two

A collection of lecture notes, seminar papers and seminar summaries from Year One and Year Two on the HCJ course at the University of Winchester

Friday, 18 November 2011

Keynes - Seminar Summary

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes is widely considered one of the most influential texts in the world of finance and economics. After it was published in 1936, it became a benchmark for future economic thought, exploring ideas including the effects of government intervention, supply and demand and the issues associated with unemployment. The text was revolutionary as it explained that full employment could only be maintained with the support of government spending and investment. 'Successful investing', as he described it, was nothing more than 'anticipating the anticipations of others'

Born in 1883, Keynes was a British economist. His father was also an economist, as well as a philosopher teaching at Cambridge University. His mother was educated at Newnham College and became the City's first female mayor. Keynes became one of the most respected economists of the century following the publication of his book 'The Economic Consequences of the Peace' in 1919. The fact that even today Keynes' theories and ideas are being revised and expanded is a true sign of the impact he had in the field.

Before looking further at the General Theory, it's worth clarifying the meaning behind terms that repeat themselves throughout the text. First of all - Capitalism. Capitalism, put simply, is a system (both economic and political) in which the trade patterns of a country are controlled by private owners for profit. Keyne's also refers to the idea of interest. Interest is defined as: "The fee paid by a borrower of assets to the owner as a form of compensation for the use of the assets." Keyne's himself described capitalism as "the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."

Spending money on the military is a way of injecting aggregate demand

In Paul Krugman's review of the General Theory, followers and supporters of Keynes' work are referred to as Keynesians. Keynesians believe that aggregate demand is influenced by a host of economic decisions. Aggregate demand is the amount of money people are willing to spend to satisfy 'wants', not needs. This will increase if wages increase and / or if savings decrease and / or if less is spent on investment and import. A good way of injecting aggregate demand is by spending money on the military and other public services. Education and the NHS are other strong examples. Demand can also be increased by convincing people to spend their savings, yet if interest rates are cut low, people will not save.

Keynesian's also believe that changes in demand have their greatest short run effect on employment, not prices. If something is less in demand, for example a product, then the workforce needed to produce the produce will be smaller. Furthermore, prices respond slowly to supply and demand and unemployment itself is also subject to demand.

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was written during times of mass unemployment, in what some referred to as the 'interwar period'. The Great Depression was an economic slump that affected North America, Europe and a host of other regions around the world. It was the longest depression experienced by the Western World, lasting until around 1939. In Keynes view, the solution to the Great Depression involved reducing interest rates and exercising government investment in infrastructure. Many economists are of the opinion that only large rates of U.S defence spending in preparation for WWII ended the depression. Keyne's himself suggested that to lift the recession the US central bank would have to expand the supply of money.

Keynes also argued that unemployment could be solved with a 'narrow and technical solution', adding that adequate effective demand was achievable if government policies became less intrusive. Critics questioned the British economist when he said that free markets and minimal government intervention were the way forward. Krugman himself describes the General Theory as "a work of informed, disciplined radicalism". Government intervention can come in a number of forms. The idea of a minimum wage, for example, is a concept introduced through this manner. Classical economists would argue that any form of government intervention is the cause of unemployment, however.

In his review of the text, Paul Krugman summarises the theories put forward in the General Theory into 4 key points, the first of which states: "Economies can do and often do suffer from an overall lack of demand, which leads to involuntary unemployment". The idea here is that if a product isn't particularly popular, efforts to actually produce the product will slump, which means the workforce behind the product are likely to lose work.

The second point put forward says: "The economy's automatic tendency to correct shortfalls in demand, if it exists at all, operates slowly and painfully". This means that the long term effects of demand fall are severe, but the economy will stabilise the drop if its 'automatic tendancy' is present.

The next point adds: "Government policies to increase demand, by contrast, can reduce unemployment quickly". If the government increase the demand for something, the workforce related to this 'something' will need to be expanded to cope with supply and demand. Increasing the workforce will therefore create more Jobs and thus reduce unemployment.

Unemployment and the idea of 'demand' are closely linked

The final point says: "Sometimes increasing the money supply wont be enough to persuade the private sector to spend more, and government spending must step into the breach". Government spending has the ability to stabilise existing workforces and create new ones. These ideas link closely to John Hicks' analysis of the General Theory, where he explains his thinking behind the 'two curves'. Hick's states the General Theory can be interpreted in two curves: The IS curve (shifted by tax / spending changes) and the LM curve (shifted by changes in money supply)

Krugman also highlights issues with the General Theory. "He [Keyne] underestimated the ability of mature economics to stave off diminishing returns", he writes. He also describes how the economist failed to predict a future of constant inflation. This ultimately meant that Keynes was pessimistic about the future of monetary policy, which would have helped shape a number of his views.

Although some economists feels we've lost sight of the 'true Keynesian path', Krugman suggests otherwise. "The bottom line is that really we are all Keynesian now", he argues. A large part of what modern macro economists do derives from the The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by Keynes. This is a clear sign of the impact the British philosopher had on the world of economics. Even now his views towards finance and government control shape the thinking of experts today.

Keynes - Raw Notes

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money - By John Maynard Keynes

Capitalism - "An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit".

Keynesian - Believe: A) Aggregate demand is influenced by a host of economic decisions
                                B) Changes in demand have their greatest short run effect on employment, not prices
                                C) Prices respond slowly to supply and demand
                                D) Unemployment is subject to demand

Interest - "A fee paid by a borrower of assets to the owner as a form of compensation for the use of the assets".

The Great Depression - Keynes' solution: Reduce interest rates / Government investment in infrastructure


* British economist
* Considered one of the most influential economists of the 20th Century
*  1883 - 1946
* His father was also an economist, as well as a philosopher
* His greatest work (General Theory) published in 1936, became a benchmark for future economic thought

Keynes Message

* "Keyne's was no socialist - he came to save capitalism, not to bury it"
* Some of the theory was delivered in a witty style
* It was written during times of mass unemployment
* Keynes argued that the issue of unemployment could be solved with a narrow and technical solution
* He said that less intrusive government policies would mean the market economy could go on as before (It would ensure 'adequate effective demand')
* Some people have a clear reason to disagree with Keyne, who was saying that free markets and minimal government intervention was the way forward

Key points made within the General Theory:

1) Economies can and often do suffer from an overall lack of demand, which leads to involuntary unemployment

2) The economy's automatic tendency to correct shortfalls in demand, if it exists at all, operates slowly and painfully - Long term effects of demand fall are severe, but will fix

3) Government policies to increase demand, by contrast, can reduce unemployment quickly

4) Sometimes increasing the money supply wont be enough to persuade the private sector to spend more, and government spending must step into the breach.

[ "The general theory is a work of informed, disciplined radicalism" ]

The General Theory was written in an economy with interest rates already so low that there was little an increase in the money supply could do to push them lower.

Keynes and the Moderns

* John Hicks, 1937 review of Keynes- Hick's states the General Theory can be interpreted in two curves. The IS curve (shifted by tax / spending changes) and the LM curve (shifted by changes in money supply)
* Critics have issues with whether adding to the money supply is enough to restore full employment

Keynes' Legacy - Lost?

* Some economists feel we've lost the true Keynesian path
* They add that modern macroeconomic theory (which reduced Keynes to a static equilibrium model) is a betrayal of Keynesian thinking.
* One of Keynes strategic decisions, Paul Krugman states, is that he pushed the whole question of why investment rises and falls into the background

Krugman - "The bottom line is that really we are all Keynesians now" ( A large part of what modern macro economists do derives from the General Theory )


* Keynes mistook an episode for a trend
* 'Written in a decade where even a near-zero interest rate wasn't low enough to restore full employment'
* When the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve were unable to create employment despite raising money supply, Keynes assumed that the monetary environment of the 1930's would be the norm from then on.
* "He underestimated the ability of mature economics to stave off diminishing returns"
* Keynes failed to foresee a future of persistent inflation. Because of this, he was pessimistic about the future of monetary policy

Thursday, 10 November 2011

WINOL - Week #7 Notes

WINOL - Week 7 Analysis

Week 7 was a particularly ambitious week. Me and Ali went to London and attempted a live update over Skype. Unfortunately, that didn't work out due to issues with unclear audio, but the day was still really good fun.

It was a refreshing change of pace not having to walk through Winchester to interview a councillor or sit in on a meeting of some kind. Being in London with the equipment for an event that was genuinely exciting to be a part of was brilliant.

We started out early at Winchester Station and managed to get to the University of London Union building at around 11am. At first we had an issue with working out how we were going to set up the 'as live' piece. In the end we used Ali's laptop and rested it on the tripod we had which we set up near to the Union building entrance. This worked surprisingly well with Ali on the other side of the computer ensuring the camera remained steady as we filmed the 40 second piece to camera.

The atmosphere at the march was electric. People were clearly passionate about what they were fighting for and this really came across in the shots we gathered. The issue with many of the GV's was the fact I was forced to carry the camera instead of mount in to the tripod. When you're in the middle of a crowd you can't exactly set up there and then.

The 'as live' piece in the morning went well. Admittedly, it took a while to upload the footage using Karen's USB dongle (Thanks for that by the way!) but we managed it in the end. Becky text me asking for some GV's to use for a headline clip and I managed to capture footage from my phone and upload the clips to YouTube wirelessly surprisingly easily.

From there me and Ali made our way along the march route, looking out for a Starbucks as we went so we could set the laptop up for a live update at 3pm. Eventually, we found a store to set up in and got permission from the manager to broadcast inside. There was abit of waiting before the live broadcast which gave us a chance to practice. Unfortunately, the audio didn't work out in the end which was a massive disappointment because the practice runs went fine.

Despite the issues with the live update, the whole experience was great and we managed to get some some good GV's. I'd be very willing to do something similar to this in the future. It's just a shame the live update didn't work because I think that would have looked excellent.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Frege - Seminar Summary

During the 19th century, Philosophers began to focus their work towards the topic of 'meaning'. They wished to learn about the meaning of words and sentences and what they represented. The relationship between meaning and truth was also closely linked with this.

Gottlob Frege, born in 1848, was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher, studying the construction and ingredients of language. Frege's early work was focused on mathematics and geometry, yet his thoughts soon turned to logic and the philosophy of language. His paper titled 'Sense and Reference', written in 1892, was based upon the question: 'Is identity a relation?', in which he looked at the differences between the significance of an expressions.

Yes, they're clouds, but they're also natural signs!

Frege highlighted two approaches to the theory of 'signs'. Approach 1 claimed there was no relation between signs and what they stood for because, if that were true, when A=B is true then A=A cannot differ from A=B. Approach 2 claimed that on the other hand, there can't be a relationship between signs because names are arbitrary (Based on random choice rather than reason) If A=B expressed a relationship between symbols it could not express any fact about the extra-linguistic world.

Complicated, confusing stuff, but it can be explained in simpler terms. What is a sign? Signs are closely linked with what Frege referred to as a 'sense' and a 'reference'. Frege noticed a distinction between the reference of an expression (the object referred to) and the sense of an expression (the mode in which a sign presents what it designates). The German philosopher felt that all items were at three levels - Signs, their sense and their references.

When we use signs, we express a sense and denote a reference. When we understand a word, we have grasped a sense of the word. For Frege, it is not only proper names that have senses and references, however. Using the example of 'Odyssey', he explained that sentences in works of fiction lack reference. The reason this is the case is because they contain names that lack reference. In this example, it would be the word 'Odyssey'. It's worth remembering that if a name lacks a reference, that doesn't affect the thought. Fiction has sense but no reference, rendering it useless in terms of logic.

Frege is considered one of the founders of modern logic

Towards the end of his life, Frege became interesting in the idea of colouring. The scientific language we use is black and white, yet our expressions of feeling are capable of bringing colour to the sentence. Heartfelt language and sayings such as 'Oh my god!' and 'Alas!' would be examples of expressions that bring such colour.

Frege died in 1925 at the age of 76, ending a life of work that changed the philosophy of mathematics.

Now we move onto Charles Sanders Pierce, the founder of American pragmatism. To be 'pragmatic' is defined as 'dealing with things realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations'. Let's use the example sentence: "Hitler is evil". Pragmatics would argue this is true because it's conventional and widely believed.

Pierce took a great interest in physical science and by the age of 31, he has published a number of papers in the field of logic. He had also written about subjects including the history of philosophy, chemistry and religion. 

Bertrand Russell is a well-know critic of Pragmatism. In 1908 he published an article named 'Transatlantic Truth'. Russell wrote that to say "it is true other people exist" means "it is useful to believe that other people exist". He pointed out, however, that these two phrases are simply different ways of putting forward the same proposition. Russell claimed that one proposition could be true and the other false and in practice, it was much easier to find out if something is true than to decide if it's good to believe in it.

Pierce came up with the general theory of signs - semiotics. The theory states that there are 3 types of signs:

1) Natural signs - Clouds, for example, are a sign of rain
2) Iconic signs - Signified by resembling their objects. For example, sculptures or paintings
3) Symbols - Uniforms and traffic signals, for example. They're determined by convention but don't always resemble their objects

Since Pierce, theorists have divided semiotics into three disciplines:

1) Syntactics - The study of grammar
2) Semantics - The study of the relationship between language and reality
3) Pragmatics - The study of the social context and the purposes and consequences of communication

Pierce passed away in 1914 during a time in which he was still continuing work on his theory of logic.  At this point Pierce was fairly unknown to the public on a large scale. Following his death, his manuscripts were sold to Harvard University by his wife.

WINOL - Week #6 Notes

WINOL - Week 6... Analysis

I was pleased with how Week 6 went as I felt I produced a strong package with some interesting shots and a well-delivered script.

The hardest part about this week was taking a particularly complicated subject and making it simple to understand. The story was about the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre receiving a £1.4 million grant. Now obviously, this is already a mouthful. There were a couple of abbreviations in the piece in the end and that may have let the final product down slightly. I had to try and explain in simple terms the fact that this grant money would be used to run and fund projects that made use of very complex equipment.

I also had an issue with the way my interview was framed. My interviewee, Professor Rob Eason, was looking too far away from the camera. It was more a side-on shot than it was a head-on shot, which is a shame. Thankfully the things Rob said were interesting enough to ensure the interview was still usable.

I think it would have been nice to get some shots of the Southampton University campus just to break up the montage clips of the technology in the lab.

I felt the piece was quite heavy for an 'and finally' story, but I think I did a decent job at explaining a complicated story in simple(ish!) terms.

Frege, Marx, Nietzche,Freud - Raw Notes

[Marx, Nietzsche, Freud - Chronological order]

3 critics who killed enlightenment

Frege - "Sense and Sensibility"

* Individual proposition do not have meaning, they only have meaning in relation to other propositions.
* Without logic all certain knowledge from reason, as opposed to pure sense data, is bought in to question
* Sentential logic - Understand and explain the significance of:

1) The evening star is the same as the morning star
2) The present King of France is not bald
3) There was nobody on the road

* Frege is the final rejection of Syllogistic logic (Aristotle) as a path to truth


Subjectivist epistemology - No universal truth, only subjective impressions of relative value

This is a rejection of:

* Judeo-Christian-Islamic outlook
* Rationalist secularist scientific approach of the enlightenment
* Kantian categorical epistemology and morality

Marx claimed to have discovered universal law of human social development. Used the language of the enlightenment.

(Marx was the least skeptical of the '3 critics'. Also the least subjective)

Nietzche and Freud come after Marx. 'God is dead'.

Nietzche has a number of famous quotes used widely in popular media. It's worth looking at some.

* Marx - Alienation / ideology - "The ruling ideas in every epoch and the ideas of the ruling class" - This is still an important idea in social science, in practical politics, in Journalism and in literacy criticism.

* At its extreme Marxian concepts of ideology lead to doctrines of separate or independent social consciousness.

* The Marxist and Nietzschean critique of Freud is that he lacks an anthropological basis for his theories or a political framework.

( Anthropology = The study of human behaviour, cultures and their development )

* Frederick Engles - The origins of the family, state and private property and the subject are of anthropology, asserts that truth and systems of morality are indeed subjective and transitory.

E.g - In one society cannibalism is taboo. In others, it's celebrated as a religious activity.

* Freud is with Nietzsche, Schopenhaur and hindu-buddhism in seeing the ego.
* Freud's psychotherapy is little more than people coming to terms with their role in life.

Nietzsche thinks will is good. He has has a big influence on popular culture.

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