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The Economists of Tomorrow

  • Alan Freeman

This article presents the case for "assertive pluralism" in economics education and proposes how to achieve it, illustrating the point with reference to the U.K. Subject Benchmark Statement in Economics (SBSE). It proposes a revision of the benchmark, prioritizing the role of "controversy" in the teaching of economics, combined with pluralistic principles that uphold and guarantee critical and independent thinking. This reform is a necessary response to what Colander et al. (2009 ) term the "systemic failure" of economics-the inability of the profession, taken as a whole, to anticipate and understand the financial crash and recession of 2008. Failure on this scale testifies to a more deep-seated weakness in economics than commonly recognized. It arises from what Turner ( Tett 2009 ) terms the regulatory capture of the economics profession by narrow financial interests. The public, and the economics profession, require specific protection against the pressures that have produced this systemic failure. This requires a rethink of the relation of economics to society, founded on a rejection of the idea that the function of economics is to provide a single, unequivocal solution to every problem of policy. Instead, the article explains, good economics should be constrained to evaluate the full range of relevant solutions to any given policy issue, leaving the decisionmakers accountable for the decisions they make on which solution to adopt. Copyright © 2010 American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc..

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 1591-1613

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:69:y:2010:i:5:p:1591-1613
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  1. David Colander & Hans Föllmer & Armin Haas & Michael Goldberg & Katarina Juselius & Alan Kirman & Thomas Lux & Birgitte Sloth, 2009. "The Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics," Discussion Papers 09-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Joshua S. Gans & George B. Shepherd, 1994. "How Are the Mighty Fallen: Rejected Classic Articles by Leading Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 165-179, Winter.
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