It’s always good to see major publications engaging in the debate over pluralism in economics education, and after something of an ebb in media coverage, The Economist has produced a short piece on the student-led movement to reform economics education. This provides an opportunity to combat some common arguments/mischaracterisations we encounter in the press (though we do not wish to single out The Economist specifically): that we are ‘anti-free market’; that we as students are not qualified to criticise the discipline; and that we would be better off channeling our energy into disciplines other than economics. The article begins with this: Since the financial crisis, various student groups all over the world, from the Post-Crash Economics Society at Manchester University to the International
Economics, have challenged the way the subject is taught by professors, believing it too beholden to free-market orthodoxy. [emphasis ours] This is probably the one mischaracterisation that, no matter how hard we try, we cannot shake. Neither our society nor the far broader recent student movement are concerned specifically with “free-market orthodoxy” and we have never said so. Instead, our critique is of economic theory, economics education and the role of economists in society. In fact, here at PCES we believe that economics and economists (especially in macro) currently focus too much on policy of all kinds, and too little on understanding the economy. It is a fallacy to assume that just because economists are preoccupied with policy, any attack on their approach is preoccupied with policy, too. This is not to pretend we are somehow ‘objective bystanders’ or that we do...