This afternoon I joined a debate organized by Room for Discussion at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The topic was ‘rethinking economics: the future of our economic schooling’. Since the outbreak of the 2008 financial crisis, a bunch of academics have been calling for a revision of the way economics is currently taught at universities. They argue economic curricula should reflect the idea of pluralism: the teaching of a broad range of different schools of thought – alongside the Neoclassical school that has been dominant for the past decades. This plea is clearly admirable but too often falls on deaf ears. If economics is ever to embrace pluralism, its students should do so first.
If you look around at universities, you are supposed to see the future elite. Even in the Netherlands, where there are currently over 250.000 enrolled bachelor- and master students, the image of students belonging to a relatively wealthy and talented class in society still prevails. Do I see myself as part of the elite? I don’t know. And to be honest, given the fact that the concept of ‘elite’ has become something of a swear word during the past few years, I’m not sure whether I want to consider myself elitist.