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Reteaching Economics: Boom Bust Boom

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By Ioana Negru and Robert Jump, Department of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, London

The movement for pluralism in economics, including pedagogical pluralism, has inspired a group of enthusiastic early-career economics lecturers in the UK to constitute a new group/network committed to introducing pluralism in economics: Reteaching Economics (http://reteacheconomics.org, @ReteachEcon)

Rethinking

 

The group has the objective of contributing towards the change of economics curriculum through a combination of both scholarly and institutional activities or activism. The group is interested in supporting the student movement in the UK that is campaigning for the introduction of theoretical and methodological pluralism within the teaching of economics. Objectives include the introduction of new courses covering areas such as the Methodology and Philosophy of Social Sciences, and the reintroduction of courses in the History of Economic Thought. Equally important are the institutional requirements that must be met for the progress of economics as a profession and discipline. To this end there are, among other things: i) work undertaken in small groups for the reform of QAA (the Quality Assurance Agency, which influences the content of the economics teaching throughout UK); ii) action to reform of the Research Excellence framework; and iii) the organisation of workshops and events that popularise the meaning of pluralism.

Boom Bust Boom

a combination of lighthearted humour and serious commentary, reveals our unstable economic system and explains why crashes happen.

 

The official launch of the network took place on 21st of March 2015 and coincided with the private viewing of the film Boom Bust Boom, produced by Terry Jones and Ben Timlett with economics input from Professor Theo Kocken, University of Amsterdam and contributions from many others. The event was open to students, academic economists, journalists, politicians, and activists. It was organised at by Ioana Negru and Robert Jump at the School of Oriental and African Studies. They are members of the Economics Department and of Reteaching Economics. The Economics Department at SOAS has a long and established tradition in teaching Political Economy and alternative perspectives such as Institutional Economics, Post-Keynesian Economics and Marxian Economics. The film was inspired by discussions between Terry Jones and economics students regarding the poor, non-pluralistic education that economics students receive and the responsibility of the economics profession for the sort of thinking which was a major factor in the economic crisis.

The film attempts to look at the current financial crisis and the current state of the economy. It poses an important question from the outset: Why do economic and financial crises keep occurring? Whilst representing a critique of capitalism that discusses a history of crises, the film suggests two essential solutions for the current economic situation: the need to redesign the current financial system and the need to re-educate economists in the spirit of responsibility. We at Reteaching could not agree more.

From: p.14 of World Economics Association Newsletter 5(2), April 2015
http://www.worldeconomicsassociation.org/files/Issue5-2.pdf

 

 

Download WEA newsletter Volume 5, Issue No. 2, April 2015 ›

3 responses

  • David Chester says:

    These students who are demanding a new curriculum are both right and wrong as far as the study material goes. They are right because there is a need for a wider view of the whole subject and for the introduction to the curriculum of histories, philosophies, etc. However they are wrong in sticking to the same basic economics ideas without seeing the need for changing them too. Some of these ideas were corrupted in the past from the days of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Henry George and Karl Marx, but it is not in the interest of the universities and their monopolist backers to get them wiped clean, after the disastrous combining of capitalist with landlord by John Bates Clark and the resulting confused “big-picture”. So there is a desperate need by the students for new theories and for corrections to past mistakes.
    With this kind of change in place, these subjects when properly taught would help the students understand what is better to learn about, but due to present dissatisfaction with the basics, nobody can review the problem with enough objectivity to properly see where this revival should be going.
    Macroeconomics is a subject which should be better explained firstly by using a theory which works. Today such a theory is missing from the curricula except in one place, which happens to be mine, which is why I feel obliged to write this. Please study my new book “Consequential Macroeconomics–Rationalizing About How Our Social System Works” and you will see what I am driving at. Write to me for a review copy to: chesterdh@hotmail.com and tell me who you are relative to this movement.

  • TED ROSS says:

    I may be a person of a very limited education however I remember Guerrien,s comments on Tony Lawson’s call for a new ontology ; “identifying the real reason why the standard dominant theory is totally irrelevant is the unavoidable first step before proposing some-other completely alternative theory one may wish to propose, you do not need complicated ‘Methodological, Epistemological or ontological debate.”Guerrien P.A.E.December 2004. VOL 29 I believe that this approach gives theory the opportunity to relate to the real world of people.Ted ROSS.

  • David Chester says:

    I wish Ted in common with most economists would use simple English in writing. I fail to see what ontology has to do with the fact that by using my methods, macroeconomics has at last become a real science in the logical and theoretical sense. Reality is not so easy a subject that it can be directly related to real people (Ted) because there is no absolute reality and everybody sees it somewhat differently. We must therefore become more objective in our quest for knowledge and accept that what we can commonly envisage is the best we can do.

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