Who we are
Rethinking Economics Australia is the Australian branch of Rethinking Economics, committed to pluralism in economic discourse and education. We are a collection of students, professionals, educators and researchers that want to reform not only how economics is approached in the Australian context, but globally as well.
Rethiking Economics challenges the narrow orthodoxy and promotes a broad range of views and discussion. Through seminars and educational programs we promote economic literacy and debate. There are many alternative narratives, and we are not bound to pursue failed policies that endanger society and the environment. We can choose, but first we must understand.
Rethinking Economics is not aligned with any political party, and encourages a broad diversity of contributions. We welcome your participation. Students and student groups, academics, and anyone who is interested in being involved in REA is invited to become a member, and join a movement committed to a socially just and environmentally sustainable economic order.
Rethinking Economics Australia a member of the international network of rethinkers.
We are a collective movement of students, professionals and academics in Australia who want to change the way we think about and respond to economic issues. As an open, not-for-profit organisation, anyone interested in the goals of Rethinking Economics Australia can become a member to be a part of campaigns, seminars, and events.
The primary focus of this movement has been, and continues to be, the advocating of pluralist economics and tertiary education reform in the economics curriculum. Upcoming initiatives focus on outreach to higher education students, arranging seminars and conferences, along with research and reading groups on critical economic issues.
On April 2018, Rethinking Economics Australia (REA) was inaugurated at a foundation meeting in Sydney, Australia. Marking the beginning of the official Australian extension of the Rethinking Economics network founded in the United Kingdom, the meeting aimed to open up discourse around what the mission of REA should be. Those attending – including students and other professionals from around Australia – shared their interests and concerns about the influence of closed-minded thinking in mainstream economics.
It was agreed that although open-minded thinking is growing in mainstream economics, a closed-minded orthodoxy continues to have a detrimental impact on the development of public policy, as well as the broader socio-ecological landscape.
The meeting demonstrated a common vision in the need to rethink economics, from the levels of tertiary education up to policy making. In discussing our broader network of student, professional and academic relationships, the prevalence of this sentiment was clear.
To address the concerns, ERA was established as a platform for pluralistic economics, critical discourse, and public education. Rethinking Economics Australia was incorporated as a not-for-profit association on the 17th of May, 2018.
Why rethink economics?
In many introductory economics classes, economics is framed as the science of scarcity and choice. Under this framing, the field of economics attempts to resolve the problem of resource allocation among individuals. Absent is critical discussion over social inequality, market instability, governmental institutions, and social philosophy. Students are instead asked to memorise equations and solve calculus problems. If economics is indeed a social science, the ‘social’ appears to have gone missing.
An education in economics should equip students with the tools to think critically about the world around them. Although there is a time and place for abstract mathematical equations, many university students leave the classroom without ever engaging with or debating real economic issues. Rethinking economics not only means rethinking economic theory and methodology, but also how economics is taught to future generations.
Participation in economic discussions should be open to all, because the economy impacts each one of us in different ways. Rethinking economics means rethinking the role of economics in a democratic society. Politicians and CEO’s talk about ‘elasticities’ and ‘supply and demand’, which appears to validate their claims without any actual evidence. We need to cut through the jargon and fight for greater understanding, not widespread confusion.
If you have ever sat in a classroom, read the newspaper, or read an academic article and thought “what’s the point of this?” – it’s time to rethink economics.