A review of the settlement between economics and politics is long overdue. Following the financial crisis, economists are no longer treated with reverence: economics is recognised as contested and competing sets of ideas rather than established, neutral fact. This pamphlet is a first step to rebalancing the power of economic expertise in public life.
Open Economics suggests reforms that work towards consensus, challenge received wisdom and improve all-round levels of understanding. To do this, the economic decisionmaking process in the UK must involve the public through participatory budgeting and deliberative engagement. A focus on critical thinking and analysis in economics education would enable it to be challenged and invigorated. The involvement of lay members in the key areas of economic policy will expose decision-makers to the public’s fears, expectations and priorities. An accessibility test on new financial instruments and products would ensure that consumers are able to question the inventions of the finance sector.
Economic literacy is not an aim in itself; it is a means. Pursuing an open economics is vital to the economic wellbeing of the UK. It will generate a healthier level of economic understanding and debate, allowing ordinary people to become engaged in economic questions and to be informed economic actors.