Is CBS ignoring the economics debate?
In the wake of the 2008 global financial meltdown much debate has surrounded the models and theories that mainstream economists, especially the neoclassicals, use in analysing economic developments. Be it the virtually complete failure by almost an entire profession to predict the 2008 financial meltdown or the never-ending debate on how to fix the European Monetary Union, evidence is mounting that traditional, neoclassical theory is riddled by shortcomings that fail to comprehend the complexity of modern economics. Most worryingly, the absence of the much predict wave of inflation as a consequence of central banks printing money like its going out of fashion, is currently met with indifference. This makes it painstakingly obvious that something is very wrong with the modern economic science. Mainstream economics may, after all, not be as all-encompassing, as its advocates would like to have you believe.
While mainstream economists continue defending their routine approaches and explanations, it is becoming painfully obvious that something is wrong with modern economics as a science. While other sciences discard models and theories that are proven wrong, economists tend to hang on to their routines. This controversy has stirred heated debates in academia, with a substantial number of scholars calling for a shift in the way we think and teach economics. Unfortunately, this debate has so far found little attention in the auditoriums at Copenhagen Business School.
I contend that for economics to justify its place as one of the eminent social sciences it must mount a paradigm shift away from ideological and dogmatic preaching, towards more scientific rigour and open debate. When a particular theory is proven inadequate, which may well be the case with some neoclassical teachings, it must be revised or discarded. A science that clings to out-dated ideals and theories will ultimately fail to serve its very purpose. The much-needed transformation can only be fulfilled if academia starts to take a hard look at itself and its teachings.
CBS economics related curriculum, like most other economics courses in the world, is one that inherently relies on the concepts of neoclassical and classical economics. Many textbooks that most of us will have worked through during our studies at CBS, have been authored by great thinkers from the mainstream schools.
Opening up towards views that compete with neoclassical standards is a central aspect that has too long been neglected. Other schools of thought, such as Austrian economics or Marxian economics, for instance, offer many sensible approaches to analyse economic phenomena. According to Rotterdam based economist, Dr. Howard Nicholas, even some eminent Wall Street investors base their investment decisions on the grounds of Marxist economic analysis.
Other influences, such as rising research in behavioural economics or neuroeconomics, are often omitted from traditional syllabi. These fields of research particularly challenge central assumptions of mainstream economics, such as the highly simplified take on rational human behaviour and how me make decisions.
Unfortunately, courses at CBS do not offer students a well-rounded picture. I believe it would be much more beneficial if students were also introduced to ideas that challenge the dominating mainstream views. For now unfortunately, what we are left with is, to some degree, indoctrination that has no consideration for what lies left and right of the mainstream.
In my opinion, what is missing are comprehensive university courses that offer insights into comparative economics. By teaching a more holistic curriculum that compares and contrasts different schools of thought, students will be able to have a clearer understanding of how and why economics developed. This would enable future generations of economists and business leaders to have a much more comprehensive overview and toolbox in order to tackle problems of economic nature.
I do not intend to provide a definite recommendation in regards to CBS curriculum, but I do hope to raise awareness for the current debate. Involving more and more people into this debate will ultimately benefit students as well as academics in the striving for a better-functioning and more concise economic science. Lets hope that we can ignite this spark of discussion at CBS, too.