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
within. An academic economics that was more diverse, in terms of racialised and gendered identities and socioeconomic background, would also over time develop a more holistic and diverse understanding of economies and economic behaviour, and it would focus on different research questions and policy prescriptions. Ensuring different identities are represented in
Over two of the three and a half decades in which many of the things described in this book happened, I was an observer, a campaigner and directly involved in many of the events that took place. Sometimes I was in the centre of things, at other times I simply observed them. I started with all the clarity that comes from being an outsider and, over time, as I learnt more, I became some kind of insider. In methodological terms, the book is based on twenty years of primary research. Every week when I edited and wrote Balancing Act's News Update , my
. The people who make digital media and entertainment and their challenges The field of sub-Saharan African online content is very wide and two of the most-used areas have been chosen here to highlight changes: media and entertainment. All the main global digital players – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft – have a significant consumer market presence in Africa, but this section is largely about sub-Saharan African digital content and services. A large research study for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013
. In the years following the crisis I began trying to educate myself about the workings of our economy. The reading I did allowed me to glimpse some significant truths about how our society works but, without any real prior knowledge, it took a long time to develop a deeper understanding. Do you, your friends or family know the difference between fiscal and monetary policy? How quantitative easing works? What the Bank of England does? How money is created? If you do, congratulations, but there is a wealth of research to suggest that you are very
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.
The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.
9 Open systems and regional innovation: the resurgence of Route 128 in Massachusetts 1 Michael H. Best Introduction The Boston area has the highest concentration of colleges and universities, research institutes and hospitals of any place in the world. The plethora of graduate research programmes suggested that the industrial future of Massachusetts was secure in the emerging knowledge economy of the late twentieth century. However, the research intensity of the region has not insulated the state from the vicissitudes of the business cycle. For example, after
? Research, and our experience of conversations with friends and family, clearly highlights that for many people across the world, economics feels like a boring and difficult topic which is for politicians and experts, not for people like them. We are very conscious that part of reclaiming economics is about making it feel more relevant and accessible to people outside of the discipline
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