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About the Network

Aims and Objectives

A look at the daily press reveals: Whether the topic is hunger, environmental degradation, climate change, the financial market crisis, social inequality or unemployment – the (economic) problems of our times are manifold and complex. Nevertheless, economics in academia, private think tanks, and journalists rather offer one-dimensional answers concerning these challenges. A major reason for this limited perspective originates in the fact that the theoretical concepts behind it emanate from one dominating economic school of thought. But that is exactly the problem:

 

Young scholars are almost exclusively confronted with neoclassical economics as the single most important paradigm during their studies, and even PhD students, lecturers and professors face enormous pressure to conform to this standard. Solving real societal problems becomes secondary under the veil of mathematical objectivity and excessive dogmatism.

 

This is not only an internal problem of one academic discipline, but ultimately affects everyone in society through economists' expertise and their politico-economic advice.

 

Our aim is to introduce plurality of economic theories to academia, to prioritize the solving of real problems over abstract modelling, as well as to foster self-criticism, reflection and open mindedness in economics. In pursuing these goals we deliberately choose to address civil society, politics and the media, thereby trying to go beyond a pure academic discourse within economics.

 

In September 2012 we published an open letter which was signed by various student groups and more than 750 people, stating the necessity to rebuild economics along the values of plurality in theories and methods, as well as self-reflection of it as a profession. This open letter is the common ground of diverse initiatives and people who together formed the Network for Pluralism in Economics (Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik e.V.) in order to jointly argue for a broading of teaching and research in economics.

 

We in the Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik e.V. advocate a world of solidarity and openness that is oriented towards the indivisible, uninjured dignity and equality of all human beings. We see ourselves as a scientific community that strongly rejects inhuman and discriminatory behaviour in theory and practice of research and teaching.


Activities

Corresponding to our aims and objectives, our main activities focus on bringing together interested and active (young) scholars, and to critically engage with pluralism in economics. At the moment we focus particularly on professionalizing and institutionalizing our work through the campaign PluraloWatch.

 

Selected activities of the network:

 

  • Publishing of an open letter/call for pluralism in economics 
  • Organization of a pluralist conference in addition to the annual meeting of the Verein für Socialpolitik (Göttingen 2012) 
  • Planning of a PluraloRanking to systematically evaluate the plurality of teaching at economics faculities in Germany
  • Knowledge-exchange on successful events of the network's members, like for example lectures, seminars, lecture series, conferences in the context of PluraloWatch
  • Developing alternative teaching modules for plural economics, and providing respective online videos
  • Designing and updating of a common collection of literature and other teaching-learning material, as well as videos of heterodox talks
  • Regular national and regional meetings
  • Expansion of the network through new local (student) groups and new members

 

The network is mostly run by volunteers. Thus we are grateful for any personal or financial support from (PhD) students, post-docs, professors, and other people interested in more plurality in economics!