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Today, in many countries what is viewed as ‘credible’ economic knowledge stems from academic economics. The discipline of academic economics is based in universities across the world that employ economists who produce research that is published in academic journals and educate students who then go into government, businesses, and think tanks. Through the book’s authors’ and contributors’ experiences of economics education, and as part of the international student movement Rethinking Economics, it argues that academic economics in its current state does not provide people with the knowledge that we need to build thriving economies that allows everyone to flourish wherever they are from in the world, and whatever their racialised identity, gender or socioeconomic background. The consequences of this inadequate education links to modern economies being a root cause of systemic racism and sexism, socioeconomic inequality, and the ecological crisis. When economies are rooted in a set of principles that values whiteness, maleness and wealth, we should not be surprised by the inequalities that show up. Structural inequalities need systemic change, change that infiltrates through every level of the system, otherwise we risk reproducing and deepening them. This book makes the case that in order to reclaim economics it is necessary to diversify, decolonise and democratise how economics is taught and practised, and by whom. It calls on everyone to do what we can to reclaim economics for racial justice, gender equality and future generations.

Joe Earle, Cahal Moran, and Zach Ward-Perkins

Chapter 3 Beyond neoclassical economics Economics as a contested discipline pluralism n. a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist.1 Economics education shapes how its students think about the world. This makes economics powerful, as those who study it often go on to have significant authority. Economics is presented as a unified field and its association with maths and statistics makes it easy to see it as a science. However, this is not the reality. In this chapter we argue that there is a

in The econocracy
Joe Earle, Cahal Moran, and Zach Ward-Perkins

Chapter 2 Economics as indoctrination The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else John Maynard Keynes1 I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws, if I can write its economics textbooks Paul Samuelson2 In the space of seventy or eighty years the idea of ‘the economy’ went from non-existent to occupying a central place in our world. As a result of this meteoric ascent, economics – the study of the economy  – has gained

in The econocracy
Bill Dunn

Introduction This chapter introduces economics as Keynes encountered it and then how his own work before the General Theory begins to break from orthodoxy. Keynes depicts almost all his predecessors, at least those he considered worth discussing, as ‘classical’ economists. He acknowledges that this stretches the concept, but it allows him to include not just ‘Ricardo and James Mill and their predecessors …[but also] the followers of Ricardo’ ( 1973 : footnote 3). His understanding therefore includes the later marginalist or ‘neo-classical’ writers

in Keynes and Marx
Joe Earle, Cahal Moran, and Zach Ward-Perkins

Chapter 4 The struggle for the soul of economics Economic thought is today dominated by a single perspective, which seriously limits the ability of economic experts to deal with many of the problems faced by society. The belief in this one perspective goes right to the heart of the profession. For example, the  2014 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Jean Tirole, stated that it is  ‘important for the community of academics … and researchers to be endowed with  a single scientific assessment standard’.1 Thus, while economists often criticise the existence of

in The econocracy
Joe Earle, Cahal Moran, and Zach Ward-Perkins

Chapter 6 Economics is for everyone Renewing democracy In the last chapter we set out our vision for how the education of economic experts could be improved, and the temptation might be to end there. However, this would at best be addressing only half of the problem. While we have been following one path to an important set of conclusions, there has been another path running alongside, just out of sight but interwoven with our story; neglecting its ultimate conclusions will only leave us at a dead end. Throughout this book we have shown how economics underpins

in The econocracy
Abstract only
The perils of leaving economics to the experts

One hundred years ago the idea of ‘the economy’ didn’t exist. Now, improving ‘the economy’ has come to be seen as one of the most important tasks facing modern societies. Politics and policymaking are increasingly conducted in the language of economics and economic logic increasingly frames how political problems are defined and addressed. The result is that crucial societal functions are outsourced to economic experts. The econocracy is about how this particular way of thinking about economies and economics has come to dominate many modern societies and its damaging consequences. We have put experts in charge but those experts are not fit for purpose.

A growing movement is arguing that we should redefine the relationship between society and economics. Across the world, students, the economists of the future, are rebelling against their education. From three members of this movement comes a book that tries to open up the black box of economic decision making to public scrutiny. We show how a particular form of economics has come to dominate in universities across the UK and has thus shaped our understanding of the economy. We document the weaknesses of this form of economics and how it has failed to address many important issues such as financial stability, environmental sustainability and inequality; and we set out a vision for how we can bring economic discussion and decision making back into the public sphere to ensure the societies of the future can flourish.

Ariane Agunsoye, Michelle Groenewald, Danielle Guizzo, and Bruno Roberts- Dear

At the age of sixteen, Francesca Rhys-Williams, a contributor to this book, decided she wanted to study economics; however, it was not a subject option available at her high school, so she went to another school for her economics course. She was surprised to find the class included few women. The lack of gender diversity in economics is well

in Reclaiming economics for future generations
Abstract only
Ariane Agunsoye, Michelle Groenewald, and Danielle Guizzo

In this chapter, we take a historical view of economics as an academic discipline and identify deep and ingrained hierarchies in how it is structured. We argue that these hierarchies are harmful because they contribute to the marginalisation of large numbers of economists based on their identity, values, research choices or the country they work

in Reclaiming economics for future generations
Abstract only
Ariane Agunsoye, Michelle Groenewald, Danielle Guizzo, and Kamal Ramburuth-Hurt

Francesca Rhys-Williams, a contributor to this book, encountered stigma from other students, as they assumed she had chosen economics because she wanted ‘to make lots of money’. Frustrated with this stereotype, Francesca was compelled to carry on studying economics to prove it can be a force for good in society. With this goal, she and many others

in Reclaiming economics for future generations