After Ingrid Robeyns’ post on the subject, much has been blogged this last days about the viability (or the need, depending on the blogger) of an Occupy Economics approach following the sensation and very interesting Occupy Philosophy blog.
Such demand seems reasonable so I’ll try to come up with two generaly accepted ideas to start with. As I see things there are two distinct ways for Open Economics to build around, none of them exclusive to economists:
1. The profession’s code: many economists fail to provide relevant research because of the prevalent conflict of interest between their individual goals and desires (€€€, reputation and ultimately in some cases their jobs) and the profession’s objective or public interests. We’re not simply talking about corrupt economists here, we’re talking about a whole system built around private money (the same applies for public Univs or Institutes) and international institutions that dictate the rules of the game (what is acceptable and what is not; paradigms, academic trends), promoting their own agenda and blocking or marginalizing the most of the potentialy disruptive economic thought. This is probably one of the biggest motives for the stagnation of the economic theory in the last decades (since the 80s, I mean). Pretty much anyone thoughtful, adventurous and curious enough to challenge the establishment is able to expose and attack such conflict of interests without limitations; in my opinion, we should expect the greatest analysis to be from the ones who never entered such system – in this case, distance should pay;
2. The professions’ production: the dominant paradigm (neo-neo-liberalism) must be finally deconstructed in order to be reformulated and expanded. On the analytic side we have the maths vs. social sciences debate; here I vote for the use of the both as I think such debate provides no added value for the science. Despite the merits of the microeconomic atomistic and rational choice based math supported approach characteristic from the neo-liberal fellows, economy must be seen as an open system leaving economics as an open subject, capable of contributing and receiving contributions from all other social sciences on its demand for a better understandment of social problems and dynamics. We have to bring politics, history, sociology, antropology, geography and all such old friends back in the game. Don’t worry, physicians will still being pretty useful economists and nobel prize candidates but they sure need some support from people who actualy study the real world. Moreover, one-size-fits-all approaches must be left out and be replaced by more sensitive, bottom-up conceptions that contemplate the real needs of the people and the effective and sustainable development of the communities, nations and ultimately of the whole globalized word as an complex integrated system. The study of the bottom of all social systems – of institutions in the broader sense as commonly seen – is desirable and can provide common ground for prolific future cooperation among social scientists.