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Title: COVID-19, universities, and economics

Authors: Lynne Chester

Addresses: Department of Political Economy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Abstract: Government lockdowns and restrictions to arrest the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread societal and economic disruptions. Also exposed has been the pernicious impact of the past 40 years of neoliberal policies including the transformation of the perceived role of universities from serving the public good, through knowledge creation, to the pursuit of profit and efficiency with consequential impacts on knowledge production and reproduction. This article contends that the praxis of conventional mainstream economics reproduces the ideology of neoliberalism and legitimates the neoliberal form of the university through constitutive and co-constitutive relationships. It is also argued that the discipline of economics needs to return to its social science roots of pluralism and interdisciplinarity if it is to contribute understanding of, and policy advice to address, complex and pressing real-world problems like global pandemics and the climate crisis. This 'return' will also jettison a key support for the ideology of neoliberalism.

Keywords: COVID-19; economics; interdisciplinarity; neoliberalism; knowledge; pluralism; universities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPEE.2020.116228

International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2020 Vol.11 No.3, pp.271 - 292

Received: 21 Jan 2021
Accepted: 09 Mar 2021

Published online: 30 Jun 2021 *

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