Pluralism and Empiricism Not Enough to Reform Economics Teaching

I’m not an economist; but i’m not a philologist, astrologer or eugenicist either – argument from authority is no argument when a discipline is so degenerate it needs tearing down and reformulating.

As the debate over the resolution of the crisis continues there is a risk that either

A) most schools will continue to teach the micro is everything philosophy with a smattering of behaviorism and empiricism thrown in

B) The really rad hetorodox schools looked down upon will teach a more pluralist course – with a risk that simply becomes a confusing rattle through of economics history not preparing students for higher research.

I have previously argued that economics teaching needs to concentrate on the contested core ideas.  

But I would go further – in times of crisis of a discipline there is a historical model of how disciplines change, even change their name and how whole new disciplines are formed.

Consider disciplines that didn’t even exist 150 years ago and how they came about.

Consider industrial design – and the Bauhaus institute.  The model is how a creative hothouse institution as a partnership between its teachers and students seeks to ask and answer basic questions which have not been asked before or considered too basic to ask

Like – what is a chair for – how should a chair be designed.

Securing our future making and using resources is a matter of design as well – does economics as it is constituted asking and answering the right questions?

Consider a economics curriculum consisting of nothing but asking and answering such basic questions in an exploratory manner such as

How is a landlord able to charge rent?

How is a bank able to charge interest on money?

And then going where the investigation takes you with people from a variety of factions presenting their answers.  For critical and intelligent students those orthodox professors rattling out tired neoclassical answers would not last long.  The investigation is likely to take students and their teachers into new and neglected corners of introductory curricula – like the trade off between travel and rent, and into practical and day to day models concerning issues of what makes cities expand, collapse, thrive or decline – let the investigation go where it goes and dont care whether or not it fits the conventional boundaries defined for the discipline.

Then start asking questions about whether this is efficient, and whether it could be better designed.

Where is the economics Bauhaus?


4 thoughts on “Pluralism and Empiricism Not Enough to Reform Economics Teaching

  1. If you want to not only reform economics, but also fight against war, debt slavery and their inevitability fight the idea that money can only be distributed as debt via a loan. Cultivating personal graciousness is the responsibility of everyone, and monetary grace as in the free gift to the inheritors of our culture of tremendous productive capability is the only valid economic way to create economic stability in a micro-economy governed by the cost accounting convention that all costs must go into price, a high tech world where innovation and artificial intelligence is disruptively destroying aggregate individual income and scarcity is no longer the primary reality.

  2. Not sure about economics but some disciplines, in some universities are introducing problem based learning pedagogy instead of lecture-essay-seminar format, which usually closes down new lines of enquiry.

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