Economics education and pluralism
from Maria Alejandra Madi and the WEA Pedagogy Blog
As John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out economics is overwhelmed by an ‘uncorrected obsolescence.’ The target of economics education is the comprehension of the reality in its economic dimension, that is to say, the understanding of those practices and ideas that support the evolution of material life and the provision of human needs.
In the post-war period, economics was broadly understood as economic science, that is to say, as a specific area of the development of human knowledge. In this context, the mainstream-heterodox controversies overwhelmed the economic organization and welfare distribution issues. After the 1970s, however, the perspectives on economics education revealed a deep crisis of post-war institutions. In truth, the main challenge to economics education has been the understanding of changing economic realities. In the current scenario, pluralist economics education has been overwhelmed by the attempt to apprehend the complexity of the real-world.
Economics education should take into consideration history, quantitative methods and the awareness of diverse schools of thought within economics. The nuclear idea of the economics curriculum should be to assure the accomplishment of three purposes: pluralism, solid theoretical foundations and commitment to reality. Such pluralism should be aware of the limitation of the universality of economic laws. Economists would be apt to the recognition of situations that configure singularities and, therefore, to the establishment of specific forms of intervention that would affect economic and social relations. The emphasis should be centered on the social, cultural and political restrictions to the objectivity of economic laws. Indeed, this attempt points out to a pluralism founded on history.
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