1. We wish to escape from imaginary worlds!
Most of us have chosen to study
economics so as to acquire a deep understanding of the economic phenomena
with which the citizens of today are confronted. But the teaching that is
offered, that is to say for the most part neoclassical theory or approaches
derived from it, does not generally answer this expectation. Indeed, even
when the theory legitimately detaches itself from contingencies in the
first instance, it rarely carries out the necessary return to the facts.
The empirical side (historical facts, functioning of institutions , study
of the behaviors and strategies of the agents . .
. ) is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, this gap in the teaching, this
disregard for concrete realities, poses an enormous problem for those who
would like to render themselves useful to economic and social actors.
2. We oppose the uncontrolled use of mathematics!
The instrumental use of mathematics
appears necessary. But resort to mathematical formalization when it is not
an instrument but rather an end in itself, leads to a true schizophrenia in
relation to the real world. Formalization makes it easy to construct
exercises and to manipulate models whose significance is limited to finding
"the good result" (that is, the logical result following from the
initial hypotheses) in order to be able to write "a good paper".
This custom, under the pretence of being scientific, facilitates assessment
and selection, but never responds to the question that we are posing
regarding contemporary economic debates.
3. We are for a pluralism of approaches in
Too often the lectures leave no place
for reflection. Out of all the approaches to economic questions that exist,
generally only one is presented to us. This approach is suppose to explain
everything by means of a purely axiomatic process, as if this were THE
economic truth. We do not accept this dogmatism. We want a pluralism of
approaches, adapted to the complexity of the objects and to the uncertainty
surrounding most of the big questions in economics (unemployment,
inequalities, the place of financial markets, the advantages and
disadvantages of free-trade, globalization, economic development, etc.)
4. Call to teachers: wake up before it is too
We appreciate that our professors are
themselves subject to some constraints. Nevertheless, we appeal to all
those who understand our claims and who wish for change. If serious reform does
not take place rapidly, the risk is great that economics students, whose
numbers are already decreasing, will abandon the field in mass, not because
they have lost interest, but because they have been cut off from the
realities and debates of the contemporary world.