Is CORE a pluralist economics curriculum? | WEA Pedagogy Blog
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"Core (the acronym for Curriculum Open Access Resources in Economics) is a project led by professor Wendy Carlin from UCL, UK, that aims to improve the content and delivery of the economics curriculum around the world. Other remarkable economists have been and are part of this project such as Diane Coyle and Samuel Bowles....
As Mearman et al (2016: 5) explain: “CORE is a large undergraduate year one course called ‘The Economy’, which itself comprises nineteen modules on a range of topics. CORE is neither a Massive Online Course (MOOC) nor a course in the traditional sense, but an online resource, a frame to be elaborated”. According to the same authors, CORE represents both an ‘improvement’ and a ‘missed opportunity’. On the one hand, CORE employs historical and experimental data and draws on the history of economics or new branches of economics such as theory of games, covering thus a variety of topics. On the other hand, the course is rife with concepts and elements unsupported by evidence, such as utility maximization that constitute fundamental components of CORE (Mearman et al 2016).
The reactions to CORE, both from the media and the academic world, have been mixed. Whilst Birdi (2014) claims that CORE represents a transformation of economics, others consider the shift brought by CORE as insufficient and inadequate (e.g. Post Crash Economics Society (PCES) 2014; Morgan 2014; Mearman et al 2016). The extensive use of data to explain economic phenomena is recognized by Giugliano in Financial Times (2015) (https://www.ft.com/content/fc2eb464-d93d-11e4-b907-00144feab7de), who also acknowledges voices that echo the lack of radicalism in the CORE project (e.g. Rethinking Economics). John Cassidy (2017) in the New Yorker states: “The CORE approach isn’t particularly radical (students looking for expositions of Marxian economics or Modern Monetary Theory will have to look elsewhere)”.
It is not my intention here to discuss exhaustively all the details of the CORE project but to focus briefly on the level and forms of pluralism characteristic of the CORE approach and some of its members. Typically, pluralism (or a pluralist orientation) is conducive to the co-existence of a plurality of theories, methods, methodologies, approaches, models, explanations, assumptions and so on. Pluralism supposes a general tolerance of diverse points of views and conceptions of economic reality (Negru 2007, Negru 2009). Pluralism means ways of recognizing and accepting a variety of economic ideas and of schools of thought in economics and on the economics curricula (Negru 2010). Pluralism represents an attitude of openness towards theories and models that are not necessarily heterodox and engagement with them. Pedagogically, pluralism envisages the willingness to produce a diverse curriculum and the introduction of various modes to represent and interpret the economic world different than one’s own (Negru and Negru 2017)...."