Joe Earle, a spokesman for the Post-Crash Economics Society and a final-year undergraduate, said academic departments were "ignoring the [financial] crisis" and that, by neglecting global developments and critics of the free market such as Keynes and Marx, the study of economics was "in danger of losing its broader relevance".I smell a national standardised test behind those multiple choice questions. That produces something other than education irrespective of what's not being tested. The focus of the students' objections is to the preponderance of New Classical macroeconomics in the syllabus, to the exclusion of Keynesian, Marxian, or Austrian explanations for Complex Adaptive Systems Do What They Darn Well Please. Their complaints apply to price theory as well: it misleads to place complete faith either in Competitive Markets Allocate Resources Efficiently or in The Welfare Economics Paradigm.
[Ha-Joon] Chang, who is a reader in the political economy of development at Cambridge, said he agreed with the society's premise. The teaching of economics was increasingly confined to arcane mathematical models, he said. "Students are not even prepared for the commercial world. Few [students] know what is going on in China and how it influences the global economic situation. Even worse, I've met American students who have never heard of Keynes."
In June a network of young economics students, thinkers and writers set up Rethinking Economics, a campaign group to challenge what they say is the predominant narrative in the subject.
Earle said students across Britain were being taught neoclassical economics "as if it was the only theory".
He said: "It is given such a dominant position in our modules that many students aren't even aware that there are other distinct theories out there that question the assumptions, methodologies and conclusions of the economics we are taught."
Multiple-choice and maths questions dominate the first two years of economics degrees, which Earle said meant most students stayed away from modules that required reading and essay-writing, such as history of economic thought. "They think they just don't have the skills required for those sorts of modules and they don't want to jeopardise their degree," he said. "As a consequence, economics students never develop the faculties necessary to critically question, evaluate and compare economic theories, and enter the working world with a false belief about what economics is and a knowledge base limited to neoclassical theory."
Just as I hope my students understand.
Now to line up an opportunity to work with my colleagues in the Midlands on teaching the controversies, and find a house-sitter for a term?