Rethinking Economics in the Light of COVID and Future Crises

This not-to-be missed webinar highlights some of the pressing matters on rethinking economic science and can now be watched online. The webinar fostered insightful discussion from leading economic thinkers on today’s global challenges, and would benefit teachers and professors of economic science, or anyone working in the field of economics, think tanks, intergovernmental agencies and policy-making.
Rethinking Economics in the Light of COVID and Future Crises

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How has Economics confronted the profound challenges posed by the COVID pandemic? What will be the impact of the COVID pandemic on Economics and on the relations between Economics and other disciplines? The ISC’s webinar on Rethinking Economics in the Light of COVID and Future Crises explored some of these issues.


Economists have been vigorously debating the appropriate policies to address the COVID crisis. This debate has entailed policy responses to the pandemic which have significant economic impacts such as lockdowns as well as other direct economic interventions such as stimulus packages. While Economics has been successful in producing useful knowledge and research in a very short period of time, the COVID crisis has also revealed the shortcomings of current Economics from a broad social and policy perspective.

COVID is much more than an economic crisis, with deep social and human costs and consequences. In order to understand and address the COVID crisis and any future crises consequent upon COVID-like events, economists will be required to re-draw the disciplinary boundaries that conventionally demarcate the discipline of Economics from other scientific disciplines.

Leading economists Sam Bowles and Wendy Carlin presented these issues in a recent webinar hosted by the ISC. The presentation was followed by discussants Danielle Allen, Luc Soete and Jayati Ghosh. The session will be moderated by sociologist, Craig Calhoun.

What attendees said about the discussion:

This was an extremely stimulating seminar on a really important topic, important not just for academic economists or even all economists. Economics shapes society’s thinking on a lot of very central issues we face today, like inequality and climate change. But economics needs to be renovated to help shape new thinking on these issues – this seminar helped us understand why, and also how this renovation might be done. 

Stephen Gelb,
Principal Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute, UK

This was an excellent webinar. It offered a novel and theoretically grounded discussion on much needed new directions for rethinking economics. Panelists and discussants also offered a reflection on how new approaches to economics can help tackle the consequences of the current crisis. I would recommend it to academics and students across all social science disciplines

Maria Savona,
Professor of Innovation and Evolutionary Economics at SPRU, University of Sussex, UK; and Professor of Applied Economics at the Department of Economics and Finance, Luiss University, Rome, Italy

This is one of the best webinars I have listened to this year. It was a great experience listening to Prof. Samuel Bowles and Prof Wendy Carlin present their perspectives about how the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate acceptance of a new paradigm in economics. I would highly recommend it to students studying economics.

Zachary Gitonga,
Postdoc research fellow at Research Unit on Economics of Excisable Products (REEP), School of Economics, South Africa

What a fascinating webinar!  There is so much of interest. I need to bring this material into my course on engineering economics

Professor David Walwyn
Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Chaired by:

Craig Calhoun

Arizona State University

Presentation: Economics and the pandemic – what will we have learned?

Sam Bowles
Santa Fe Institute

Wendy Carlin
University College London

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Danielle Susan Allen
Harvard University

Jayati Ghosh
Jawaharlal Nehru University

Luc Soete
Maastricht University

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Photos: Sam Bowles (Me Judice, CC BY 3.0), Danielle Susan Allen (Harvard University), Luc Soete (EU2017EE Estonian Presidency, CC BY 2.0), Jayati Ghosh (UNCTAD, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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