The Crisis in Economics

The Crisis in Economics

The Crisis in Economics

The Crisis in Economics

Synopsis

This book charts the impact the PAE Network has had so far and constitutes a manifesto for a different kind of economics. It features key contributions from all the major voices in heterodox economics including Tony Lawson, Deirdre McCloskey and Sheila Dow.

Excerpt

open letter from economic students to professors and others responsible for the teaching of this discipline

We, economics students of the universities of France, declare ourselves to be generally dissatisfied with the teaching that we receive.

This is so for the following reasons:

1. We wish to escape from imaginary worlds!

Most of us have chosen to study economics so as to acquire a deep understanding of the economic phenomena with which the citizens of today are confronted. But the teaching that is offered, that is to say for the most part neoclassical theory or approaches derived from it, does not generally answer this expectation. Indeed, even when the theory legitimately detaches itself from contingencies in the first instance, it rarely carries out the necessary return to the facts. The empirical side (historical facts, functioning of institutions, study of the behaviors and strategies of the agents…) is almost non-existent. Furthermore, this gap in the teaching, this disregard for concrete realities, poses an enormous problem for those who would like to render themselves useful to economic and social actors.

2. We oppose the uncontrolled use of mathematics!

The instrumental use of mathematics appears necessary. But resort to mathematical formalization when it is not an instrument but rather an end in itself, leads to a true schizophrenia in relation to the real world. Formalization makes it easy to construct exercises and to manipulate models whose significance is limited to finding “the good result” (that is, the logical result following from the initial hypotheses) in order to be able to write “a good paper.” This custom, under the pretence of being scientific, facilitates assessment and selection, but never responds to the question that we are posing regarding contemporary economic debates.

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