Q&A: Unlearning Economics

21st August 2012

unlearning

The author is a powerful critic of the way in which economics is taught in schools and universities. He (or she) says "Neoclassical theory injects a certain type of framing and hidden assumptions into your head many of which become second nature even among left leaning economists. Together they can form an incredibly skewed world view." In another he or she wrote: "Tyler Cowen , in the interests of making the blogosphere waters ever muddier, has written a deeply misleading and confusing post about what exactly constitutes ‘austerity'.

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What inspired you to first start blogging?

After studying economics, I became interested in the field and began to read popular books such as The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford in my spare time. Before long, I moved on to more heterodox criticisms, such as Ha-Joon Chang's 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, and found myself far more convinced by these. After reading enough about the crisis and the related failures of economics, I realised that something was seriously wrong.

However, I noticed that many of the implicit assumptions and terms that had been criticised convincingly by one heterodox thinker were then accepted by other critics. Major offenses included were use of the term ‘free market,' misinterpretations of thinkers like Keynes, and an overly monetary or ‘cost-benefit analysis' style of thinking. I searched for a place where somebody had clearly combined all of the criticisms, and managed not to fall into any of traps neoclassicism has set up in economic debate. When I saw that no such place existed, I decided to try and fill the gap.

This is the reason I called my blog ‘Unlearning Economics.' My goal is to expose the implicit assumptions that are so pervasive in the field, in the hope that I can contribute something that will help reframe the debate.

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