Pluralist Economics Reader

The Pluralist Economics Reader offers basic readings in mainstream critique, pluralism and theoretical alternatives. Due to copyright reasons the reader must be used for self-learning purposes only.

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[Part I Economics in Crisis]   (2,8 MB)

[Part II Confronting the Mainstream]  (5,2 MB)

[Part III Pluralism – What’s in a name?]  (1,1 MB)

[Part IV No Pluralism without Alternatives]  (8,5 MB)


About this Reader

The basic idea of this reader is to help students of economics to help themselves. In a time of flawed economic education students are called to organize teaching on their own in order to gain new scientific perspectives. The economics mainstream seemed to have been without means to predict the crisis in the best case, to be an integral part of its causes in the worst. Numerous student initiatives emerged independently from each other and unified under the concept of pluralism. While this movement grows steadily, with the formation of the International Students Initiative for Pluralist Economics as its latest expression, there can be no question of a clear line for the realignment of economics. Pluralism as a concept doesn’t give concrete answers, but opens the door for asking new questions.

There are fundamental controversial questions within Pluralist Economics that can and should not be answered ultimately. Some of these are: What exactly makes up mainstream economics, and to which sort of critique should it be exposed? Are mainstream economics neoclassical in nature, or have they moved towards internal pluralism? Are their basic ideas fundamentally flawed or is there space for their gradual advancement? How does the critique of the mainstream relate to the more than 30-year-old tradition of heterodox economics? Is there a unified alternative economic paradigm, or is it possible at least? In which ways is science embedded in society, and how political is the economics discipline?

The Pluralist Economics Reader offers entry-points into these discussions. The first Part (Economics in Crisis), portraits the on-going struggle over the future of the discipline and situates it in the context of a world economy in crisis. The second part (Confronting the Mainstream) gives insight into the varied criticism mainstream economics is exposed to. Besides axiomatic criticism, thorough examinations of the epistemology, history of thought, methodology as well as of micro- and macro-approaches in mainstream economics are included in this chapter. The third part (Pluralism – what’s in a name?) presents important pieces of the on-going debate about the nature of heterodox economics in relation to the pluralist project. The last part (No Pluralism without Alternatives) portraits four approaches to economics which can be said to belong to the paradigms most ignored by the mainstream – namely feminist, ecological, post-keynesian and marxist economics.

This reader is a project in progress. On the website  the current selection can be exposed to criticism and improvement proposals. Pluralism is an empty phrase if it isn’t understood as a challenge for opening competing world views, ideas and theories for dispute.