Off to class …

… the same dingdong …, teaching economics. Funnily enough (well, not really funny at all) the schedule should start with an “Introduction into Economics” – after learning English during the first year. No propaedeutics in the true meaning of introducing into academic thinking.

Still, looking at the requirements and standards sent from the British “mother university”, there seems to be some change. Work should now follow the CORE Project, i.e. the Curriculum in Open-Access Resources in Economics, elaborated by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. At first glance, the idea is surely laudable – as the website advertises:

Teaching economics as if the last three decades had happened.

Still, looking closely at the proposal there are some flaws. For instance from a heterodox perspective, as we brought forward by the World Economics Association, the following is contended:

The CORE project in particular seems to neglect to teach:
• that economics can be defined in different ways;

• that an economic problem can be looked at from different theoretical perspectives;
• that economists constructively disagree;
• that economists can be in error;
• that economic ideas can be dangerous if uncontested; and
• that there is more to teaching economics in a historical context than simply a narrative and some data.
 And part of the story is that “teaching economics as if the last three decades had happened” has to consider from where exactly the economy and economic developed and not least it requires
Teaching economics as if there is a future that can be shaped and will be shaped by and for people

Admittedly high aspirations. And paradoxically they are going well hand in hand with the “Keynesian plea for modesty” laid down in the “Essays“:

‘But, chiefly, do not let us overestimate the importance of the economic problem, or sacrifice to its supposed necessities other matters of greater and more permanent significance. It should be a matter for specialists—like dentistry. If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people, on a level with dentists, that would be splendid!’

(Keynes, J., 1932: Essays in Persuasion; New York: Harcourt Brace: 373)

Well, that is what I am trying to follow – beginning by … coming to the core of academic education: propaedeutics, dealing with the questions of meaning. And not least, aiming on teaching that we – as economists – may do something for the set of teeth, but the biting takes place outside of the setting of the surgery.


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