A Preface to the Student

Hey all you students out there,

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You are entering university at a critical juncture. Capitalism is in crisis and the crisis is growing deeper. 

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And yet as you delve into your textbooks, listen to the sensible, ordered tone of lectures and come to associate your professors with the accolades that hang on their walls, you may get the sense that economics is a science: a rigorous discipline with its own immutable laws, proven theories and crop of Nobel laureates. Far from it. You may be temporarily fooled by this façade, but you need only look beneath the surface to discover that economics is a highly contested field… a profession whose axioms and credibility are being questioned like never before. The prevailing neoclassical paradigm is crumbling and a new, more chaotic, more biologically and behaviorally based paradigm is struggling to emerge.

But your department, like most others around the world, is still marching in lockstep with the old guard. That’s because generations of tenured professors have marginalized dissenters and eliminated competition. Your economics department operates very much like a police state… not a free marketplace of ideas in which innovation is acknowledged and rewarded. But outside your department, a vigorous heterodox economics thrives… there are social economists, feminist economists, interdisciplinary economists, behavioral economists, ecological economists and hundreds of intellectuals and maverick professors who are openly critical of the neoclassical regime and fighting to overthrow it.

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So there are really two ways for you to approach your studies over the next few years: you can ignore all of the screaming inconsistencies and accept the status quo. You can cross your fingers and hope the old paradigm has a generation or two left in it, enough for you to carve out a career. Or you can align yourself from the get-go with the mavericks. You can be an agitator, a provocateur, a meme warrior, an occupier, one of the students on campus who posts dissenting messages up on notice boards and openly challenges professors in class. You can bet your future on a paradigm shift.

All of us here at Adbusters hope this book fires up your imagination and inspires you to take the riskier, more exciting path.

Kalle Lasn, Meme Wars: The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics

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