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.
provision, then democratic determinations and collective solutions are disparaged. Also, the melding of notions of ‘citizenship’ with the
status of ‘a consumer’, which Burgess (2001) shows is increasingly a feature
within the European Union, individuates people, inviting them to weigh
their personal interests rather than those of any collectivity.
Fourth, and associated, the free running of competitive markets tends to
create inequalities which undermine principles of equality, particularly social
equality which Marshall (1950) saw as the foundation of citizenship in the
sprung up particularly in the South.
War bonds were promoted as ‘an obligation of citizenship, as a way of
honoring the sacrifices of America’s fighting men, and as an expression of
national and intergenerational solidarity’ (Adatto, 2011:383). Campaigns
to encourage take-up of war bonds were organised door-to-door and in
workplaces, via the ‘minute men’ and ‘minute women’ who were known
as ‘victory volunteers’, as well as through national media campaigns and
Hollywood (stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Betty Grable). Adatto says,
promote the formation of active citizenship from a young age;
subjects such as citizenship are often not taught or when they are,
they are often not viewed as adequate qualifications for gaining entry
to university. Workshops and courses could also be run for adults in
community centres and universities, and through civil society and
religious groups, addressing economic issues that are relevant locally
and giving people the substantive economic literacy necessary to
engage with economic discourse.
The second key shift needed for thin democracy to function is the
Britain, or to challenge and question accepted norms as Socrates did
in Greece.5 In our view, both the transmission of civilisation, culture
and common standards of citizenship as well as the encouragement
of original, critical thinking are important parts of any educational
philosophy. Finding ways to do both is one of the great challenges of
any form of education.
So what are the core principles of a liberal education? All versions
of liberal education reject instrumental approaches, narrowly defined
as training for work. Whereas in training success has been achieved
responsible for supporting it, and for governing
and monitoring education at least broadly, although some would argue that
private schools ought to play a significant role in provision.
Social cohesion and human rights
Education also is an example of the kind of goods and services that, under
the third body of theorising identified here, is considered a basic human
right, or right of citizenship, and thus which ought to be available to all,
independently of their money income or wealth or social status. Thus all
citizens ought to have the right to vote, to trial by jury
level creates an
impenetrable wall of confusion between its workings and our lives.
On the other hand, many aspects of our lives are embedded in and
dependent upon the wider economic system. The barrier that prevents us understanding the economy and participating in economic
debate doesn’t shield us from its consequences.
A movement to open economics and reinvigorate democracy
The devaluation of citizenship at the heart of econocracy forms the
backdrop to the recent rise in populist political movements across
Europe and the US. Many of these movements have developed