Blog Decolonizing Economics Teaching

Two blog posts on decolonizing teaching

What does it mean to decolonize teaching? This is one of the many questions we’re grappling with in Diversifying and Decolonising Economics (D-Econ). Along with Ariane Agunsoye and Michelle Groenewald, I recently put down some thoughts in a two-part blog:

It’s the start of a new blog series by the great D-Econ blog team called Decolonising Economics: Teaching and Pedagogy.

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Beyond Eurocentrism (essay)

I recently wrote an essay about Samir Amin for the popular magainze, Aeon. In it, I go through what I think are major lessons from Samir Amin that can help us understand imperialism, Eurocentrism, uneven development, and ideology better. I contrast his structural and materialist analysis of capitalism and imperialism with the culturalist views of Edward Said, as Said has received much more attention in both academia and in the public sphere. Read the essay here.

Blog Decolonizing Economics

Galileo and neoliberal academia: a critical assessment of UK higher education (blog post)

Along with my colleaborator Surbhi Kesar I recently wrote a blog post for Diversifying and Decolonising Economics (D-Econ) on the ongoing industrial dispute in UK higher education, linking it the to wider structural problems of marketisation, privatisation, commodification, and decolonisation.


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Colonial legacies and racial hierarchies in the global economy (review essay)

I had the privelege of publishing a review essay of two books in the most recent issue of Race and Class (2022). I review the important contributions and radical potential of Adom Getachew’s Worldmaking after Empire (2019) and Franklin Obeng-Odoom’s Property, Institutions, and Social Stratification in Africa (2020), and outline some ways in which their analyses and frameworks could be expanded along anti-colonial Marxist lines.

Read the full review here.

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Money Power and Financial Capital from a Decolonial Perspective (book review)

I reviewed Ilias Alami’s book Money Power and Financial Capital in Emerging Markets for a book symposium organized by Afronomicslaw. In the review, I link the book’s approach to debates about dependency theory and decolonizing economics. Read the review here.

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Standing in the Way of Rigor? Economics’ Meeting with the Decolonizing Agenda (working paper)

I have a new paper out with Surbhi Kesar in the New School Department of Economics’ Working Paper series: Standing in the Way of Rigor? Economics’ Meeting with the Decolonizing Agenda.

The abstract:

This paper critically engages with various aspects of the decolonization movement in economics and its implications for the discipline. We operationalize the insights from this engagement using a survey of 498 economists that explores how faculty across different kinds of departments, disciplines, geographies, and identities perceive the problems of economics teaching, how they think economics pedagogy should be reformed, if at all, and how they relate to decolonial critiques of economics pedagogy. Based on the survey findings, we conclude that the mainstream of the field’s emphasis on technical training and rigor, within a narrow theoretical and methodological framework, likely stands in the way of the very possibility for decolonizing economics, given its strong contrast to key ideas associated with the decolonization agenda, such as positionality, centering power relations, exposing underlying politics of defining theoretical categories, and unpacking the politics of knowledge production. Nonetheless, the survey responses clearly chart out the challenges that the field faces in terms of decolonizing pedagogy, which is a first step towards debate and change.

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Does economics need to be ‘decolonised’? (blog post)

Happy to contribute to the interesting initiative The Economics Observatory with the blog post “#economicsfest: Does economics need to be ‘decolonised’?” In it, Carolina Alves and I reflect on the two roundtable discussions that D-Econ curated at the Bristol Festival of Economics last year (see here). We discuss historical efforts to decolonise economics, what we mean by the ‘colonisation’ of economics, the impact of colonisation on the discipline, and decolonisation of both teaching and research.

Decolonizing Economics Methodology Publications

Imputing Away the Ladder (article)

Jacob Assa and I recently published our work on the implications of changes in measurement standards of GDP for global convergence debates – and the political economy implications of recent reforms. In short, we find that how we measure GDP is largely determined by Western institutions and the economic structures of Western economies, thus underestimating the growth of non-Western economies that have different economic structures. The recent increase in the proportion of imputations in GDP has also had the effect of boosting the GDP of the West relative to the rest of the world, which is the inspiration for the paper title: Imputing Away the Ladder.

The abstract:

What are the implications of changes in measurement standards of GDP for global convergence debates? What are the political economy implications? To answer the former question, we examine the changes in national accounting standards from the early 1990s. Revisions to the System of National Accounts (SNA) – the international standard for constructing GDP – include several major changes to how production is measured, including the reclassification of financial intermediation services, R&D, and weapons systems as productive activities – all areas in which countries in the West has had an advantage in recent decades. In addition, there has been an increase in the proportion of imputations in the 1993 and 2008 revisions, which privileges the economic structures of the West. Overall, we find that these changes have had the effect of boosting the GDP of the West relative to the rest of the world and thus to an underestimation of global convergence compared to previous measures of GDP. To answer the second question, the paper unpacks the political economy implications of national accounting standards favouring Western economies along several axes, including the impacts on voting shares in international institutions, domestic policy incentives and epistemological debates about sustainable development.

Read the full paper here. If you don’t have access to New Political Economy, you can request a PDF from Jacob or me through ResearchGate.

Decolonizing Economics Events Video

Video: Decolonising Economics: What does it mean and how is it done?

In November 2020, I attended a really interesting panel on decolonising Economics at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, curated by Carolina Alves of D-Econ and chaired by Romesh Vaitilingam of the Economics Observatory. Along with Fadekemi Abiru, Surbhi Kesar, and Farwa Sia, I discussed Decolonising Economics: What does it mean and how is it done? You can view the recording here.

D-Econ also hosted another panel on decolonising economics, with Carolina Alves, Keston Perry, Imran Rasul, and Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe. Watch it here:Why Diversifying and Decolonising Economics Matters to Everyone.

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Why Do Economists Have Trouble Understanding Racialized Inequalities? (Blog post)

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I wrote a blog post with Surbhi Kesar for the Institute for New Economic Thinking on the Economics discipline’s lack of capacity to understand racial inequalities, based on survey data.