Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Fight back.


A brief history of post Autistic Economics.

Eventually reality intervenes despite all attempts to ignore it. 

"But eventually reality overtakes time-warp worlds like mainstream economics and the Soviet Union.  The moment and place of the tipping point, however, nearly always takes people by surprise.  In June 2000, a few economics students in Paris circulated a petition calling for the reform of their economics curriculum.  One doubts that any of those students in their wildest dreams anticipated the effect their initiative would have.  Their petition was short, modest and restrained.  Its first part,  “We wish to escape from imaginary worlds”, summarizes what they were protesting against.

Most of us have chosen to study economics so as to acquire a deep understanding of the economic phenomena with which the citizens of today are confronted. But the teaching that is offered, that is to say for the most part neoclassical theory or approaches derived from it, does not generally answer this expectation. Indeed, even when the theory legitimately detaches itself from contingencies in the first instance, it rarely carries out the necessary return to the facts. The empirical side (historical facts, functioning of institutions, study of the behaviors and strategies of the agents . . .) is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, this gap in the teaching, this disregard for concrete realities, poses an enormous problem for those who would like to render themselves useful to economic and social actors.

The students asked instead for a broad spectrum of analytical viewpoints.

Too often the lectures leave no place for reflection. Out of all the approaches to economic questions that exist, generally only one is presented to us. This approach is supposed to explain everything by means of a purely axiomatic process, as if this were THE economic truth. We do not accept this dogmatism. We want a pluralism of approaches, adapted to the complexity of the objects and to the uncertainty surrounding most of the big questions in economics (unemployment, inequalities, the place of financial markets, the advantages and disadvantages of free-trade, globalization, economic development, etc.)"

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