Seven years after the start of the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes published The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, which raised economic thinking to a new enlightened level.
The economic crisis has been going on for eight years now with no end in sight. We would like to be able to tell you that in those eight years, we have seen the teaching of economics change with the times, learning from past errors and sowing the seeds for more robust economic development. Unfortunately, we are still struggling, making only marginal amendments to the mainstream economist textbooks.
Keynes said it best:
The master-economist must possess a rare combination of gifts .... He must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher -- in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular, in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man's nature or his institutions must be entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood, as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near to earth as a politician.”
We are a group of students in the Netherlands with a passion to become "master-economists" and because of this we demand drastic changes to the economics curriculum. We envision a future where we have an open debate about the real world applications of the wide range of economic schools of thought, leaving the university with a confident pep in our step. To this end, we have set up the Student Initiative for Rethinking Economics in the Netherlands, or SIREN for short. We are indeed sounding the siren for the state of economics education.
We call upon all students, professors, policymakers, and anyone with even a passing interest in economics: join our movement for intellectual diversity! This will not only improve our understanding of economics as an academic subject. It will make the world a more stable and prosperous place, respecting the daily fundamental uncertainties we are all faced with.
Want to find out more? Please browse our website at your leisure. We suggest starting here, with the basic facts for why we matter. Then, head on over to our inspiration page for some diverse wisdom. After that, please consult our local groups section to see how you can link up with our city-based initiatives. We also heartily invite you to attend one of our future events, like the PINE Symposium on the 17th of June.
And like us on Facebook!
It will be an uphill battle, but a worthy one.