Ariane Agunsoye
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Reforming academia
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Chapter 6 argues that it is necessary to diversify, decolonise, and democratise academic economics (the three Ds). Diversifying economics concerns broadening the discipline’s people and knowledge. This requires a pluralism of theories and methods and a much more interdisciplinary approach to shift from the current assumption that there is one right way to do economics. Decolonising economics requires embedding an analysis of colonial history, oppression and power at the foundations of our understanding about how economies operate, which will lead us to new ways of thinking and different economic policies. Democratising economics places principles of democracy and self-determination at the core of economic development, developing policies which represent the needs, priorities, values and cultures of the communities who will be affected. It requires recognising that if everyone plays multiple roles in the economy – including carer, worker, owner, saver, investor, citizen and public service user – then everyone has an expertise that stems from their economic experience. Academic economics needs to engage seriously with this distributed economic knowledge and expertise through developing different research methods and building ongoing relationships with different groups in society to create a new social contract between experts, politicians and citizens.

Finally, the chapter considers how the three Ds can be embedded into economics education so that the next generation of economists will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and values needed to transform the discipline and our global economy. This section provides practical advice for teachers of economics to transform how it is taught.

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