The term pluralism is generally used to contrast with so called ‘mainstream’ economics teaching which generally only focusses on one school of economic thought called neo-classical economics. This has a number of key assumptions that are central to its approach such as economic agents seeking to maximise their individual happiness and markets tending towards equilibrium and generally leading to efficient outcomes.

Those supportive of economic pluralism based on a workshop we held in 2018 tend to recognise that economic teaching should:

  • include other schools of thought such as complexity, institutional, post-Keynesianism and Marxist economics (see here for summaries of different schools) and other disciplines such as politics, psychology, sociology and anthropology.
  • build critical awareness in students of the assumptions and implications of different schools of thought and disciplines.
  • focus on seeking to apply ideas to and learn from real world issues to explore the implications and limitations of different approachs.

Professor Shiela Dow (below) provides a useful background to and overview of Pluralism in Economics if you want to learn more.

Video project funded by the Independant Social Research Foundation. You can see other videos in this series here.

However there are no internationally agreed definitions. This is why we are holding an international online dialogue to develop a shared perspective on what the minimum requirements are for a pluralist approach to teaching economics in the context of masters programmes.

A really good source of learning material and more is at Exploring Economics.  This e-learning platform offers an introduction to pluralist economics, it aggregates online accessible learning material and lists online study courses from throughout the world.