1 August 2012

The Quest for Academic Credibility

This may, I know, be a futile quest. But I am impressed by the way the post-war pro-market ideologues came to control the world through controlling the economic ideas that dominated it. Much of this strategy was focused on systems of power, and particularly the media, but they also dominated academic economics, and that struggle to reverse that sorry tale of misinformation and deception of so many young people is an important one.

For this reason I would like to give a small plug to an article of mine that came out yesterday in the Cambridge Journal of Economics. This is the best of the economics journals, since it reflects the way economists at that university still have some freedom to question the neoclassical paradigm. Building on my book, Green Economics, I seek in the article to carve out a specific space within academia for an approach to economics that arises from reverence to nature and a fundamental commitement to social justice.

In the article I identify four characteristics of green economics:

'Its pluralism is inherent, and is evidenced by the repeated call for a wider range of perspectives on economic problems than those that currently dominate academic and policy discussions. This leads naturally to a commitment to global equity and to giving equal importance to the needs of the majority world to decisions about the allocation of global resources. Equity is also a concern at the domestic level, a concern that arises necessarily from the closing of the planetary frontier. Schumacher’s catchphrase ‘small is beautiful’ is influential, but has been developed into a call for strengthened local economies and an opposition to the globalisation and displacement that have typified economic ‘progress’ during the past century. And, finally, the call for a steady-state economy and the replacement of the growth dynamic that is central to the capitalist economy is a fundamental tenet of green economics.'

As part of a strategy of changing what economists do, and particularly how economics is taught to future citizens, I hope the paper will make a contribution.

PS In response to a comment about the fact that this article is copyright controlled, I forgot to include in the article the important information that academics often make a pre-publication version of their articles available via the Social Science Research Network. If you wish to read this article please email me direct (molly@gaianeconomics.org) and I will send you an electronic copy.

1 comment:

  1. There is not much point in publishing an article behind a pay wall. The only people likely to read it are academic economists.