How does pluralism help address the urgent crises we face such as climate change and inequality? Shouldn’t we be addressing them directly rather than bothering with pluralism?

We believe that part of what is preventing us tackle these challenges is the dominance of a particularly understanding of economics. Any policy proposals have to generally pass ‘economic rationality’ tests such as are they consistent with promoting free markets and economic growth.  This happens both in policy development and in the political media narrative. We believe promoting economic pluralism can help provide the space for new innovative policy that can help us address such challenges where we have failed to date.

How can we best get more support from influential people outside academia and raise awareness of the urgency of this initiative more broadly?

We are seeking to do this by identifying and contacting influential people who have indicated by their statements that they believe there is a need for new thinking. We already have a range of supporters on our website here. We are going to redouble our efforts in the New Year to recruit further influential supporters but we also need your support in recruiting such people in your countries. So please do approach people you think would be supportive particularly outside academia and ask them to give their public support.

Can we learn from existing accreditation systems?

We have already studied a number of accreditation systems in other sectors such as the Marine Stewardship Council. Also one of our close advisors was involved in the early design and development of the organic accreditation scheme. We have also had suggestions for other academic accreditation schemes which we will look at. However we are not seeking to replace these and we hope that our scheme will be much less extensive and onerous.

What is the best way to involve those with an interest in economic pluralism in countries that are currently underrepresented in this dialogue, such as the pluralist communities in Brazil, Latin and South America in general or India and Africa? Will language be a barrier?

We are working very hard to reach out as widely as possible internationally to ensure the development of this scheme is truly a global enterprise. However we would also very much appreciate any help in doing this as our contacts are necessarily limited. Please do pass on details of this initiative as far as possible. The online dialogue does have a function to automatically translate to an number of languages so language should not be a barrier.

How can we best mobilise the students’ movement and get students involved in this initiative?

We are working very closely with Rethinking Economics and Exploring Economics as well as other university student bodies to encourage as much involvement from the student movement as possible.

What exactly are you seeking to accredit, courses, modules or program(me)s?

We are currently proposing to accredit full program(me)s i.e. what a student would apply to join. In the UK we often refer to them as courses.

Why is the initiative aimed only at Masters Program(me)s?

In an ideal world we would be looking for pluralism in all courses that teach economics, particularly when students first study economics, and this is our ultimate goal. However, we have to start somewhere and therefore took the decision to initiate the process with masters program(me)s for a number of reasons:

  • There is relatively more teaching taking a pluralist approach to economics happening at the masters level at a wide range of universities so there is a extensive community to work with at this level as can be seen from the program(me)s we have identified so far here.
  • Masters program(me)s seem less subject to regulation within the education system providing more space for innovation and are often interdisciplinary which means they tend to be more open to pluralism.
  • Many students get their first taste of economics when they do an interdisciplinary masters program(me)s having not studied economics previously and are an important group to introduce a pluralist approach to.
  • The student movement generally is only able to introduce students to pluralism after they are already at universities studying mainstream economics undergraduate degrees, but they are still able to go on to do a pluralist masters degree.
  • Students on masters degrees are likely to be entering or returning to the workforce relatively soon and so are soon in a position to influence the real world.