Educating Economists: A New Curriculum
Two things that are wrong with the current education of economics students are (a) the scientific pretensions and (b) the narrowness of the curriculum. The two reinforce each other, implying that, because economics is the “queen of the social sciences” (Samuelson), economists do not need to bother with other social science and humanities disciplines like sociology, psychology, politics, history, and so on. Their own efforts to understand human behavior are crippled by their commitment to methodological individualism and utility maximization. So what should the ideal education of an economist be?
Robert Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at Warwick University. His three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes (1983, 1992, 2000) won five prizes and his book on the financial crisis – Keynes: The Return of the Master – was published in 2010. He was made a member of the House of Lords in 1991 and elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1994. He is also the co-author of How Much Is Enough? The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life (2012), written with his son Edward, author of Britain in the 20th Century: A Success? (2014), and editor of The Essential Keynes (2015). He has recently filmed a series of lectures on the history and philosophy of economics which will be made available as an open online course in partnership with the Institute for New Economic Thinking. His most recent book, Money and Government: A Challenge to Mainstream Economics, was published in 2018.