Fred Lee’s departing words of wisdom
Fred Lee, the much-loved founder of the Heterodox Economics Newsletter, is stepping down as its editor. In his final editor’s message he offers non-neoclassical economists the following advice.
First, heterodox economists need to cite heterodox journals (whether in the SSCI or not) more extensively in their journal articles. In fact, as a whole, in their articles heterodox economists cite mainstream journals more often than heterodox journals (and mainstream journals simply do not cite heterodox journals), which give the mainstream journals a higher ranking relative to heterodox journals. Thus, perhaps a reduction in the citation of mainstream journals would in the long term have a positive impact on the rankings heterodox journals. Second, heterodox economists should become more involved in the literature of the ranking of journals and departments and in the research assessment literature. Constructing alternative rankings and critically evaluating national and local research assessment activities is one step in the right direct. A second step would be to query your favorite heterodox association and/or heterodox journal editor why they are so reluctant to deal with or publish articles on these topics. A third point is that heterodox economists need to be more active in challenging the dominance and anti-intellectual behavior of mainstream economics and economists. Not being respectable, standing up and just saying NO, pursuing heterodox research, and working with and through groups that are not part of the social-political-economic elite to promote better social-economics policies that benefit the non-elite are just some of the things heterodox economists can do. Of course, such behavior is frown upon, discouraged by the critics of heterodox economics—they would rather you be docile, embrace conformity, and behave as mainstream economist do. All I can do is to urge you to not crave respectability, but to develop a content-based heterodox economic theory and associated economic policy that contributes to building a better world out of the shell of the old.