Nassim Khadem Reporter

Nassim covers the accounting and tax rounds for BRW, as well as general business news. She previously worked for The Age newspaper covering general news, state politics and economics.

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The real rock star economist

Published 17 May 2012 05:11, Updated 17 May 2012 09:36

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Bill Mitchell is the real rock star economist – the professor of economics at the University of Newcastle is also a well-known musician. He’s the guitar player in Melbourne-based reggae band Pressure Drop.

The band was big in Melbourne’s pub and club scene in the 1970s and ’80s but some years ago Mitchell took a break from professional music and became an economics professor.

In tune: Bill Mitchell of

Since the band’s comeback in 2010, however, Mitchell has become a rock star again. (He also plays with Blues Box, a Newcastle-based swing blues band.)

He believes music is much less damaging than economics. “I think my economic profession is very dangerous,” he says. “My music gives people great pleasure.

“But if I think about what’s going on in the world – the riots in Spain caused by governments trying to impose harsher fiscal austerity … or in Australia where [Treasurer Wayne] Swan is taking 2.6 per cent [of GDP] out of spending because he’s obsessed with getting the budget back into surplus – to me that’s dangerous and damaging and undermines peoples’ security and prosperity; I don’t think my music does that.”