“Economics is the art of making the most of life” G.B. ShawThe rentrée brings good news to the world of economics!
Economics is often criticized by many for the responsibility for not being able to predict the Great Recession or for not providing the right solutions to the crisis, the growing inequality and adverse consequences of globalization on local economies and growing populism. I am glad to have discovered on The New Yorker about the CORE Econ project an accessible, relevant, real-world economics teaching tool free to anyone to browse online.
Back to my University time, I remember that many students we were already frustrated because the curriculum was focused on the free-market doctrine, considering the real life ‘ceteris paribus’ or constant. The most interesting topics on how economics can transform the way we live and contribute to more inclusive and sustainable societies were part of textbooks too, however they came after the orthodox topics on consumer preferences, supply and demand curves, the theory of the firm and the efficiency properties of atomized and competitive markets.
Although the CORE Econ approach seems not to be very radical or fully original (The Institute for New Economic Thinking in the US –which has contributed with some funds to the project- and the New Economics Foundation in the UK, among other institutions, have been working for some time to research and disseminate an alternative approach to economics to tackle XXI challenges), the interactive methodology that CORE presents together with its emphasis on providing tools to students and general public interested on economics and on finding answers to the complex questions we are facing (inequality, pollution, migration, among others), the global and collaborative team behind it (more than twenty economists from both sides of the Atlantic and India from Universities such as University College London, Science Po, Columbia and Oxford) and the aim of creating a global community of teachers and learners make this project a landmark for economics to enter XXI century, making possible to create a global campus, harnessing critical thinking to find solutions to real world problems.
As Christian Gollier, one of the founders of the CORE Econ project, highlights ‘The CORE is the best innovation in economic education that I have seen in my career. A smorgasbord of ideas that refresh our old concepts, moving our standard discourse from dismal to light, from a dehumanized science to a spirited vision of the world’
It is particularly the move from a dehumanized science (centered on the rational behaviour and on the ‘homo economicus’) towards a curriculum which takes seriously economic history, the fact that people aren’t fully rational and the free market is actually the ‘special case’ rather than the norm, what opens up a new horizon to the future of economics and economists themselves.
A new wave of economic thinking is on the rise to define in a global and collaborative way more sustainable and inclusive society in which people and the planet would be at the heart. I have called a while ago the ‘Cultural Era’. So let’s begin!