IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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..

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Freeman, 2010. "The Economists of Tomorrow," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(5), pages 1591-1613, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:69:y:2010:i:5:p:1591-1613

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. D. COLANDER & al., 2010. "The Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 6.
    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Economists of Tomorrow
      by Alessandro Cerboni in Knowledge Team on 2014-09-20 13:11:30


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Anup Dash, 2016. "An Epistemological Reflection on Social and Solidarity Economy," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 61-87, February.
    2. Robert F. Garnett, Jr., 2009. "Rethinking The Pluralist Agenda In Economics Education," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 8(2), pages 58-71.
    3. Alan Freeman, 2009. "The Economists of Tomorrow: the Case for a Pluralist Subject Benchmark Statement for Economics," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 8(2), pages 23-40.
    4. Bögenhold, Dieter, 2013. "Soziologie und Ökonomik: Betrachtungen über Konvergenzen und Divergenzen
      [Sociology and Economics: Convergencies and Divergencies]
      ," MPRA Paper 52097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Martin Kniepert, 2014. "Die (Neue) Institutionenökonomik als Ansatz für einen erweiterten, offeneren Zugang zur Volkswirtschaftslehre," Working Papers 552014, Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.
    6. Freeman, Alan, 2011. "Association for Heterodox Economics Submission to UK Science and Technology Parliamentary Select Committee on peer review," MPRA Paper 64702, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Mar 2011.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:69:y:2010:i:5:p:1591-1613. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.