Rethinking the Role of Banks in Economics Education: A Review of the Campaign So Far

Words by Cameron Fay, Economics Education Campaign Manager, RE

Since the start of November, when we publicly launched the Rethinking the Role of Banks in Economics Education campaign, 11 student groups have submitted letters to their universities in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the UK and Malta. More are in the process of being drafted as students challenge the one-dimensional and misleading teaching they receive on the role of banks in the economy.

Universities that have received letters from students have felt the pressure to respond to them. These responses have varied from willingness to engage in a dialogue on how to improve teaching at one end, to dismissal of students concerns as not understanding what they have been taught, at the other.

Alongside the 27 student groups that signed the open letter were 64 economists and civil society organisations who agree that the current textbook teaching on the role of banks in the economy needs a rethink.

The open letter and student campaign received coverage across a range of countries. Here’s just a snapshot of some of it: ETC (Sweden); Folia (Netherlands); Finans (Denmark) The Times of Malta & Lovin’ Malta.  The campaign was also shared by organisations and allies working in the fields of banking and monetary reform, including: Positive Money UK; Positive Money EU; Alliance for Just Money (United States); Positiva Pengar (Sweden); Gode Penge(Denmark).

We’ve had blog posts from Marc Lavoie (University of Ottowa) , Richard Murphy (City, University of London), Steve Keen (Debunking Economics & Can we Avoid another Financial Crisis?) and Andy Ross (Visiting Professor at Birkbeck, University of London and former Deputy Director of the UK Government Economic Service). If you would like to contribute a post to the blog, please get in touch.

We also interviewed Andrea Terzi, Franklin University Switzerland and Research Associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. As part of Rethinking Economics’ Pluralist showcase, we delved into the debate on endogenous money and asked, ‘Does it really matter?’.

Head over to the RE blog to read these.

So, what’s next?

As we go forward into 2020, we are bringing together people from across the network who would like to help take the campaign on its next steps. Would you like to take part in the action circle that’s looking to take this campaign forward into 2020? Have some ideas for where to go next in challenging or reforming the current teaching? Want to run the campaign on a local level, perhaps run an event, invite a guest speaker, propose a reading group, or collect better teaching materials for economics courses? Then get in touch at and join the Slack channel.

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