By Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins
About The Econocracy
One hundred years ago the idea of 'the economy' didn't exist. Now, improving the economy has come to be seen as perhaps the most important task facing modern societies. Politics and policy making are conducted in the language of economics and economic logic shapes how political issues are thought about and addressed. The result is that the majority of citizens, who cannot speak this language, are locked out of politics while political decisions are increasingly devolved to experts. The Econocracy; The Perils of Leaving Economics to the Experts (2016) explains how economics came to be seen this way - and the damaging consequences. It opens up the discipline and demonstrates its inner workings to the wider public so that the task of reclaiming democracy can begin.
About Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins
Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins are founding members of the Post-Crash Economics Society at the University of Manchester, which campaigns for pluralism in economics.
Martin Sandbu on Financial Times wrote:
"The students’ entrepreneurialism is evident in this book. Packed with original research, it comes with pages of endorsements, evidently harvested by the students themselves, from Vince Cable to Noam Chomsky. Yet the text is rarely angry. Its tone is of a strained politeness, as if the authors were talking politics with a putative father-in-law. [...] The high priests of economics still hold power, but they no longer have legitimacy. In proving so resistant to serious reform, they have sent the message to a sceptical public that they are unreformable. Which makes The Econocracy a case study for the question we should all be asking since the crash: how, after all that, have the elites – in Westminster, in the City, in economics – stayed in charge?"
Edmund Cannon on International Review of Economics Education wrote:
"Ultimately, the authors pin the blame on the standard method for analysing the economy — the “neoclassical” perspective that is ubiquitous in economics courses, the financial industry and policy analysis. [...] But there is little in the book of the big debate going on in macroeconomics about how important individualist “microfoundations” are, and what the alternatives could be. Nor is much attention paid to the huge research efforts under way in behavioural economics. [...] If a standard undergraduate economics education keeps these parts of economics away from students’ view, no wonder they come away disenchanted. But how is this a problem with neoclassical economics, and how is it solved by the methodological pluralism The Econocracy calls for?"
"The Econocracy is a polemic arguing for better education, largely via very specific changes to pedagogy (more evaluative questions) and curriculum (more plurality of schools of thought). It is impressive and encouraging that the authors feel sufficiently strongly to write this book and this is a rare opportunity to hear a full-length and qualitative discussion from recent students. However, the fundamental issue is whether the arguments are sufficiently convincing to encourage academic economists to change their teaching. The book raises important issues and contains interesting data, but at the moment these serve more for a basis on which to formulate more precise questions and to collect more information. In its present state the narrative of this book is unlikely to persuade any but those who are already converted."
Talk by One of the Authors
Table of Contents
2. Economics as indoctrination
3. Beyond neoclassical economics
4. The struggle for the soul of economics
5. Rediscovering liberal education
6. Economics is for everyone