Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Coverage of Neoliberalism Principles in Undergraduate Economics Textbooks: Implications for Relevance

Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Coverage of Neoliberalism Principles in Undergraduate Economics Textbooks: Implications for Relevance

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Harvey (2005), in agreement with (Lapavitsas, 2005, Mosini 2012, Steger & Roy 2010), suggest that the discipline of economics has been important for the proliferation of neoliberalism and a neoliberal political rationality. It is in this background that this research paper seeks to find out if undergraduate economics portray this. Neoliberalism is not condemned by everyone, a number of economists have believed that a neoliberal education policy increases exposure to global competition and increases accountability measures. This point is strengthened by Mitchell (2008), who strongly believes that neoliberalism aspects such as school choice and accountability offer potential solutions to long unmet needs. The main issue pointed out is the competitiveness of the labour market, which needs a competitive worker. Education is one of the central means by which the quality of labour is to be improved. Mitchell, (2003:388) further asserts that neo-liberal theory in education stresses global competitiveness, the reduction of the costs of education and of social reproduction in general, the necessity for greater market choice and accountability and the imperative to create hierarchically conditioned, globally oriented state subjects. In this regard individuals are oriented to excel in ever transforming situations of global competition, either as workers, managers or entrepreneurs.

In contrast many neoliberalism critics including feminist economists have mentioned that the theory negates social and environment responsibility, other researchers mentioned that neoliberalism benefits advanced nations when they invest abroad, (Bond 2000, Gouthro 2009, Hart 1995, Harvey 2005, Olseen 2004 & Olseen 2006). Among the critics is Olssen (2004:231), who argues that "... neoliberalism is a major obstacle to democracy in that it reduces social regulation and actively frustrates policy initiatives in a number of areas like, the expansion of literacy and education or health care programs, which require the role of the public sector." Davies & Bansel, (2007), George (1999) & Saul (2005), agree on the fact that the development of neoliberal discourses, policies and practices have been concertedly financed and engineered by those with a great deal to gain financially from the resulting labour practices and flows of capital, proclaiming that market economy is superior to other forms of governance.

Neoliberals on the other hand argue that the market has a nature of its own, has its laws, regulations and constitutes an autonomous reality which when left to its own, has the capability to provide for the well-being of its people. Thus government intervention in the market is criticised by many economists, who argue that "even though the market may fail to achieve the best possible outcome in terms of efficiency government intervention will tend to worsen the situation, rather than improve it" (Mohr and associates, 2015:341). The tag of war between the neoliberals and their critics made this research a worthwhile task. The following section discusses literature review illustrating how neoliberalism is conceptualised in this research paper. Other sections of this paper include, research methodology, findings, discussion and conclusions.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Neoliberalism is a contemporary topic though it is brutally criticised by many. In support of this view, Ross and Gibson (2006:2) ascertain that "neoliberalism is the prevailing political economic paradigm in the world today and has been described as an ideological 'monoculture' in that when neoliberal policies are criticized a common response is that there is no alternative". It is true that neoliberalism has become the most dominant ideology in the current world and educational researchers, thus need to disclose the ways in which neoliberalism affects education and the curriculum and propose new strategies to cope with them (Huang, 2012). …

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