We are a group of economics students who started a campaign to reform undergraduate economics education in 2013. Along the way we realised, just how important economics is.
Nearly 6 out of 10 unemployed young people polled said anxiety had stopped them from sleeping well and 41% said feeling anxious about unemployment stopped them from leaving the house. 40% of families are ‘too poor to play a part in society’ and can’t afford things like a weeks’ holiday in the UK a year or a second hand car. Our economic circumstances influence who we are, how we feel and what we do.
We also found that despite its importance many people feel unable to follow, let alone take part in economic discussion and that economics is widely viewed as a technical subject best left to the experts.
We believe that to participate in democracy, all citizens in the UK must have a basic knowledge of economics and the confidence to use it. Understanding a bit about economics and fostering a civil society in which it is vigorously discussed not only enables democracy to function effectively but can help us feel more in control of our lives.
Our (un)conference is just a first step towards this goal. We are trialling a Crash-Course in Citizen Economics and hope that it might in the future provide a model for a course which can be run for the public by academics and students at universities across the country. All of our events are designed to be accessible and interactive. But this is an experiment in democratising economics and we know there are areas we need to improve.
We hope that we can, over these three days through conversations with you, understand more about what works and what doesn’t. We hope that we create a space in which you, whatever your background, feel comfortable talking about economics, sharing your experience and expressing your opinion.
For lots of attendees this will require a leap into the unknown. Technical, abstract jargon and the feeling of powerlessness are formidable barriers to demystifying economics. But underneath economics is about issues which are familiar to us all. Living, dying, learning, sharing, competing, growing and eating, playing, sleeping and fighting.
It is clear to us that to truly make economics for everyone our international student movement needs to become an international social movement. We hope you will join us in this journey. Welcome!
The Post-Crash Economics Society and Rethinking Economics are part of an international student movement which aims to change the way we train our economists. We need the people who run our institutions, to represent and understand the population they are serving. Reforming the economics curriculum is essential if we are to achieve this goal.