International Students call for pluralism in economics
- Kamran Mofid
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The manifesto of 42 networks of economics students from 19 countries
It is not only the world economy that is in crisis. The teaching of economics is in crisis too, and this crisis has consequences far beyond the university walls. What is taught shapes the minds of the next generation of policymakers, and therefore shapes the societies we live in. We, 42 associations of economics students from 19 different countries, believe it is time to reconsider the way economics is taught. We are dissatisfied with the dramatic narrowing of the curriculum that has taken place over the last couple of decades. This lack of intellectual diversity does not only restrain education and research. It limits our ability to contend with the multidimensional challenges of the 21st century – from financial stability, to food security and climate change. The real world should be brought back into the classroom, as well as debate and a pluralism of theories and methods. This will help renew the discipline and ultimately create a space in which solutions to society’s problems can be generated.
United across borders, we call for a change of course. We do not claim to have the perfect answer, but we have no doubt that economics students will profit from exposure to different perspectives and ideas. Pluralism could not only help to fertilize teaching and research and reinvigorate the discipline. Rather, pluralism carries the promise to bring economics back into the service of society. Three forms of pluralism must be at the core of curricula: theoretical, methodological and interdisciplinary.
Moving forward with the real Adam Smith
There is no doubt that today capitalism is under fire. It is besieged and under attack. To my mind this is the best time to revisit Adam Smith and to try to see if we can locate the true and real Smith. As what has been mainly known about Adam Smith and ascribed to him, are far from the truth. The right-wingers and the market-fundamentalists for too long have abused Smith in order to promote their obnoxious agenda and to legitimise exploitation of people and resources for the benefit of the 1%.
In the interest of accountability to truth and to Smith himself, this must be challenged and attempts must be made to discover the real Adam Smith and his true values.