Time for an Economics Reformation!

Words by Daniel Lapedus

Time for an economics reformation!” demand students and top economists.

To mark 500 years since the Catholic Reformation, students convene top economists to bring down the ‘religion’ of economics.

Click here for the 33 THESES

Economics is broken. From climate change to inequality, mainstream (neoclassical) economics has not provided the solutions to the problems we face and yet it is still dominant in government, the Bank of England, academia and other economic institutions. It is time for a new economics.

The 33 Theses, produced by students, economists, and academics convened by Rethinking Economics and the New Weather Institute, endorsed by top economists and political leaders such as Caroline Lucas MP, outlines a detailed critique of mainstream economics.

Esteemed economists Mariana Mazzucato, Kate Raworth, Steve Keen, alongside student Sally Svenlen from Rethinking Economics, will take part in an event chaired by Larry Elliott, Economics Editor at the Guardian, discussing the 33 theses and demanding reform.

The event (see video above) took place on Tuesday 12th December at University College London. After the event participants, panelists and students marched to the doors of the London School of Economics to pin their Theses and demand the reformation.

From left to right: Andrew Simms (New Weather Institute), Sally Svenlen (RE student), Larry Elliott (Guardian), Steve Keen (Debunking Economics) and Kate Raworth (Doughnut Economics)

Caroline Lucas MP, Co-Leader of the Green Party, “Rethinking Economics are absolutely right to say that a better economics isn’t just possible, but essential. For too long now the political mainstream has worshipped at the altar of neoliberal economics, as if it’s the only way of doing things. Such a blinkered approach is clearly wrong, and it’s brilliant Rethinking Economics are widening the debate and bringing in fresh ideas”

Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, and author of 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism and Economics: The User’s Guide, “Neoclassical economics plays the same role as Catholic theology did in Medieval Europe – a system of thought arguing that things are what they are because they have to be. Like the Reformation 500 years ago, the young economists of Rethinking Economics are challenging the intellectual monopoly, calling for a  more pluralistic and inter-disciplinary approach to economics. This is an extremely important and timely intervention made at a juncture that may be the last chance to save mainstream economics from itself, and save the world from mainstream economics. Pay attention.”

Steve Keen, author of ‘Debunking Economics’, “Economics needs a Copernican Revolution, let alone a Reformation. Equilibrium thinking in Economics should go the way of Ptolemaic Epicycles in Astronomy”

Victoria Chick, Emeritus professor of economics at University College London, “In Economics today, the path to Truth is mediated by its priesthood. Economics Reformation, in its Theses nailed to the door of LSE, argue that students should read the scriptures, in all their great variety, for themselves. Thus they will learn that the Pope (formerly Samuelson, now Mankiw) is not infallible and that they must search for Truth in the contest of ideas.”

Sir David King, FRS, “The opportunity and the vital necessity to rethink economic models is stimulated by a group of recent manifest failures.  The major threat of climate change and ecological destruction.  The financial debt crisis of 2007/8.  The growing difference between income levels of the poorest and the richest in our societies.  Media control by a small number of extremely wealthy individuals.  In this context the ’33 Theses’ document is a stimulant to action, and very much to be welcomed.”

Kate Raworth, Author of Doughnut Economics, “Today’s economics students face a deep irony. On committing to spend years of their lives and a great deal of money studying the subject, the first thing they discover is that they must rewrite the syllabus to make it fit for the challenges they know lie ahead. Yes, economics is in crisis and the last thing it needs is creeping reform: it’s time for a sweeping reformation. Listen to the students: they are the future of economics and its best chance of becoming relevant again.”

Student Sally Svenlen, “500 years ago Martin Luther set in motion a movement which would alter the establishment’s practices to its foundations. There are so many people out there who work every day on trying to improve the established economic practices in their own ways. We have brought all these experiences, ideas and energies into one single declaration of how the current economic establishment needs to change. It’s hard to ignore the truth when it’s hanging on your door.”


The students of Rethinking Economics have protested their studies for the past five years. From lecture walkouts, to the publication of a manifesto for curriculum reform for people to support, to producing their own textbook, to writing ‘the Econocracy’ a book on the history and arguments of the movement.


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