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
3. We are for a pluralism of approaches in economics!
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 late!
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