A New Tool For Teaching Pluralist Economics

Students in Europe have created an important resource for those seeking alternative curricular materials

Frustrated by a university curriculum often confined to the narrow economic orthodoxy whose limits are in plain view around the globe, a number of organizations have generated content to enhance and diversify economics education. Exploring Economics, unveiled this past Sunday, aggregates those resources in an impressive catalog of online courses, explanatory videos, articles, interviews, and more from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Korea, Europe, and beyond.

Exploring Economics also offers primers on ten schools of thought within economics, concisely comparing and contrasting them with one another. All ten branches are presented side by side as regards their ontology, epistemology, methodology, axiology, and values. If they appear simplified in the comparison, the site allows the user “explore” each school of thought, individually, revealing the diversity within.

This resource was generated by students in the Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik e.V. (Network for Plural Economics, NPE).

From their press release:

The Network for Pluralism in Economics (Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik) forms part of ISIPE and its goal is to give space to the variety of economic theories and priority to the solution of real problems as well as to promote self-criticism, reflection and openness within economics. The network deliberately goes beyond an economics internal discourse and addresses their concerns to civil society, politics and the public. The network consists of 28 students groups located in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

NPE developed the site in response to a survey it conducted among professors (published here in German) that identified both a strong desire to teach pluralist economics and a limited definition of the meaning of pluralist economics. NPE also found that professors interested in teaching pluralism were limited by a lack of material, and that researchers working in these fields were limited by a lack of platforms for disseminating their research.

In the face of limited resources, students eager for more pluralist economics education took it upon themselves to create self-teaching groups and reading circles. That process prompted NPE to create the resource it needed: Exploring Economics, which includes economic teaching materials online in which multiple schools of thought were presented in an accessible manner.

Exploring Economics does not present an exhaustive list of schools and sub-schools of thought in economics — nor does it present an exhaustive list of questions to pose or categories of answers — but it is an impressive tool for self-teaching and getting acquainted with material frequently ignored in most economics departments.

This project is a work in progress that hopes to continue to generate more educational visualizations, expand its reach with contributors around the globe, and post new material daily.

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