Archive for April 12th, 2011

A request

I used to have the impression that most anyone who did not do or study heterodox economics was hostile to it. What I am now finding to be the case is that most people don’t even know that heterodox economics exists. This is especially true among graduate students, and new PhDs and young scholars. It is not necessarily the case that they are opposed to using diverse frameworks to understand economic activity. It is quite simply that they had never even heard of any other way to do economics. Terms such as “feminist economics” literally has no meaning to them, despite that fact that there is a Feminist Economics peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge.

And, of course, the tools they have been taught to use are the “traditional” tools. It’s not that they are opposed to using other models – just simply that they had not even thought about another way to model the economy. And under pressure to finish a high quality job market paper or publish more journal articles, they stick to what they know best.

I don’t think everyone needs to specialize in heterodox economics, or align themselves with one particular school of thought. But certainly economists could only gain from knowing about the various economic methodologies and being able to converse and debate and think across the boundaries. This underscores the importance of events such as the 2011 International Confederation of Associations for Pluralism in Economics (ICAPE) conference, “Re-thinking economics in a time of economic distress.”

In addition, it has led me to consider a new challenge – how to introduce pluralism to those being trained in traditional economic theories and tools. The biggest problem is that graduate students are way too busy with their coursework, research, and work to have time to seriously consider heterodox ideas – once again, school gets in the way of learning.

Which leads me to my question: if you could recommend just one resource (book, article, film, person, blog, etc.) that makes a convincing argument for pluralism in economics to a graduate student or young scholar, which would it be?

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