Should democracy be part of the definition of economics? COVID policies in a broader context
by Peter Söderbaum
International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education (IJPEE), Vol. 11, No. 3, 2020

Abstract: In economics, 'values are always with us'. In our studies, we make a number of choices and the choices we make tell us something about our values. Economics is always 'political economics'. The attempt by neoclassical economists to offer a purely scientific economics has failed. Instead, we need to take democracy and pluralism seriously and discuss how a different conceptual framework can strengthen rather than weaken democracy in our societies. Neoclassical economics and 'sustainability economics' are presented as two different ideological orientations in the form of 'narratives'. As economists, we make a choice between narratives (with their respective conceptual framework) and our values are revealed when choosing one narrative rather than the other. Democracy is threatened in some countries and even in nations belonging to the European Union. It is time for us as economists to discuss how democracy can be integrated into economics with its conceptual framework. Health issues, such as COVID-19 are part of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals sanctioned by the United Nations. In this article, a holistic or broad perspective of economics is encouraged. Health issues have features in common with environmental and natural resource issues, for example.

Online publication date: Tue, 13-Jul-2021

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