And good on them for it! Academic economists are ignoring or minimizing the need for change, just as they did 40 years ago when I was one of the revolting students. So students are taking their demands to hear other stories read from other than the Neoclassical songbook to the streets–and the web and newspapers.
Today 42 different student groups around the world have launched the “International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics”. They have penned an Open Letter on the need for pluralism, which will be published in a number of newspapers today–May 5th 2014. The opening paragraph of the letter is (with two points highlighted in italics):
It is not only the world economy that is in crisis. The teaching of economics is in crisis too, and this crisis has consequences far beyond the university walls. What is taught shapes the minds of the next generation of policymakers, and therefore shapes the societies we live in. We, 42 associations of economics students from 19 different countries, believe it is time to reconsider the way economics is taught. We are dissatisfied with the dramatic narrowing of the curriculum that has taken place over the last couple of decades. This lack of intellectual diversity does not only restrain education and research. It limits our ability to contend with the multidimensional challenges of the 21st century — from financial stability, to food security and climate change. The real world should be brought back into the classroom, as well as debate and a pluralism of theories and methods. This will help renew the discipline and ultimately create a space in which solutions to society’s problems can be generated.