Pluralism in Economics

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Recently, students of economics from around the world issued an open letter concerning pluralism in economics, or rather its absence. We have reprinted this as this month’s Sign of Our Time: International Students Initiative for Pluralism in Economics.

The call for pluralism is a reaction to the dominance of neoclassical economics which is regarded, or regards itself, as the so-called orthodoxy, rendering all other approaches heterodox. The second article therefore provides a potted version of this approach – published without direct comment… except to say that it gives a good impression of a discipline that is dry, almost without culture, theoretical and possibly without a real relationship to life! But then, it only claims to be an approximation. Even so, from an associative point of view, when encapsulating neoclassical    economics for the lay person one has to bite one’s lip quite considerably, lest one critique wholesale, and even rail against, its many postulates. We have, nonetheless, written what we hope is a fair representation.

From the perspective of this journal, a key question is whether and how associative economics is included in such pluralism. By way of a response, we publish an article by Fionn Meier, a young Swiss economist, who writes: “Two weeks ago I wrote them an email with the suggestion to put “associative economics” as a further new possible paradigm on their website and gave them a list of some books as an introduction into associative economics. They wrote back, that this suggestion caused a deep and controversial discussion in the executive council about their        understanding of pluralism and the aim of the pluralistic movement. Nevertheless they are interested to know more about “associative economics” and invited me to take part in a meeting in autumn.” His response, Numbers and Images is reproduced here in outline.

The challenge of pluralism raises a related important question: Is economics being co-opted by financiers? Under Archive, in Battling for Ideas, we recapitulate the main points articulated by Walter Johannes Stein in an issue of this journal on independent research, published in July 2007.

The AEX Page features a related article. As with the misleadingly named ‘Nobel Peace Prize for Economics’ awarded by the Swedish central bank (in fact Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel), pluralism may not be all it seems, however. The World Economics Association recently (April 2014) published an article by Norbert Haering purporting that the Institute for New Economic Thinking, founded and funded by George Soros, is a way of co-opting these students’ new awareness. While it does not represent our editorial view, the first half of the article is reprinted here as, What if…, because the thesis makes interesting reading in its own right.

Entitled Straight or Narrow, this month’s View from Rare Albion, is about how the orthodox:heterodox divide is understood in that imagined place.

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