Students at the University of California-Berkeley have launched the first salvo in an international movement to challenge neoclassical economics. They printed the Kick It Over Manifesto [pdf] on bright pink paper and pinned it to the door of Daniel McFadden, a Nobel Prize winner in economics [pdf], and to bulletin boards throughout the department.
The goal was to disrupt the obliviousness of students and teachers who preach the self-destructive consumerist lie that societies should pursue economic growth. It worked: the manifesto hit a nerve.
Within three hours, an adjunct professor emailed Adbusters to justify his approach to teaching economic theory. But he concluded with a defiant flare: “I have a fairly strong hunch that you are mistaken about the system crumbling, or the imminent loss of relevance of mainstream economics. In all likelihood my students will continue to have considerable influence on the body politic for many years to come.”
Here is the text of the manifesto:
We, the undersigned, make this accusation: that you, the teachers of neoclassical economics and the students that you graduate, have perpetuated a gigantic fraud upon the world.
You claim to work in a pure science of formula and law, but yours is a social science, with all the fragility and uncertainty that this entails. We accuse you of pretending to be what you are not.
You hide in your offices, protected by your mathematical jargon, while in the real world, forests vanish, species perish and human lives are callously destroyed. We accuse you of gross negligence in the management of our planetary household.
You have known since its inception that one of your measures of economic progress, the Gross Domestic Product, is fundamentally flawed and incomplete, and yet you have allowed it to become a global standard, reported day in, day out in every form of media. We accuse you of recklessly projecting an illusion of progress.
You have done great harm, but your time is coming to a close. Your systems are crumbling, your flaws increasingly laid bare. An economic revolution has begun, as hopeful and determined as any in history. We will have our clash of economic paradigms, we will have our moment of truth, and out of each will come a new economics–open, holistic, human‑scale.
On campus after campus, we will chase you old goats out of power. Then, in the months and years that follow, we will begin the work of reprogramming your doomsday machine.
The Real World Economics Review Blog lists 31 supporting links.