Rethinking the professional profile of the economist

This 2023 is inaugurated with new fields of collective action, product of what was done in 2022. In the field of social and solidarity economy, the Call for the design of proposals for Social Economy Programs was recently opened -it is still warm-. The call is the sum of efforts of the International Network for Research in Social Economy from the Epistemology of the South, the Campaign for a Global Curriculum of the Social Solidarity Economy and the Institutional Network for the Strengthening of the Social and Solidarity Economy of the Autonomous University Metropolitan.

The call is the assembly of efforts that were conceived in different spaces and now, for strategic reasons, in a prospective reading, they converge: the call for the Social Service and Professional Practices Program that promotes the Social and Solidarity Economy for Local Community Development ( ANUIES, Autonomous University of the State of Hidalgo, Iberoamerican University (Puebla) and UAM (Xochimilco and Iztapalapa units); the discussion on Good Practices in Social and Solidarity Economy in IES (October 2022).

Another source is the set of activities promoted by the Campaign for a Global Curriculum of the Social Solidarity Economy. Let us recall a premise of the Campaign: “only by changing the dominant model of economic development can humanity implement the 2030 Agenda, achieve the peace that we so desire […] and stop the damage caused by climate change”, recognizing that in the culture of capital, the pedagogy of social control aims at building consumers (where citizens and militants are systematically discouraged, from the dominant hegemonic narrative). The sense of purpose points towards the recognition that another economy is possible (for this, the educational action underlines the importance of questioning the common sense that dominates in schools, such as reproduction).

In the case of the UAM, the Institutional Network for the Strengthening of the Social and Solidarity Economy of the UAM held two important and numerous Forums on this matter, at first recovering both theoretical discussions and practical experiences, while in the second Forum paid more attention to concrete, specific experiences, to build a repertoire of assets in the social and solidarity economy. The final editorial touches are in progress for the publication of the first forum experience to be presented.

As an active academic colleague, Ricardo Contreras Soto, points out, Social Economy careers are called upon to contribute to building “another, better world.” In this sense, and in order to add experiences, I return to what was raised by Pablo Sisti and Carlos Andujar (Page 12, 01/01/2023), Argentine teachers, who summarize the proposal of the new curricular design of the Economics Teachers of the Province from Buenos Aires. In the broad discussion that has taken place in Latin America, the efforts of the social and solidarity economy are part of alterity in the current context of capitalism, with the aim of materializing these changes in the “construction of a participatory, critical citizenship and emancipatory.”

In November 2022, the General Council of Education was held in the province of Buenos Aires, approving different curricular designs (daring to modify what was formulated at the end of the 90s). It is stated that “Far from an ahistorical, universal and mathematical vision, based on scarcity and efficiency, the new curricular proposal for Economics teachers aims to train teachers from Political Economy” […] from a historical and social perspective, with a focus on the production and appropriation of the economic surplus, the analysis of the social actors, the link with nature and the inseparable ethical perspective”.

Task to replicate, with ad hoc methodologies to consult with the different actors of the educational system: “teachers, students, managers, inspectors, heads of areas and careers, unions), disciplinary, didactic and pedagogical specialists, professional associations and national universities” . In its materialization, three key points are raised: “1. The centrality of teaching as a key action for the educational task and teaching work; 2. The analysis of contemporary social transformations, with special emphasis on the gender, environmental and digital citizenship perspectives, as problems that challenge teaching practices; 3. The approach to social, political, cultural and pedagogical constructions from a Latin American, Argentine and Buenos Aires vision. (national and local, in each specific experience). Paying attention to the fact that the educational process must incorporate field practices, visits to museums, book presentations, among others, that is, highlighting academic life outside the walls.
Modifications in the teaching of micro and macroeconomics, pointing towards “a multiparadigmatic approach that problematizes knowledge and promotes a critical, reflective and committed lookto and with the economic reality of society”; It is sought that in the new curriculum other paradigms are incorporated, specifically, what refers to “the feminist economy, the ecological economy and the social and solidarity economy”.

In this space, in the light of empirical evidence and theoretical discussion, I have insisted on carefully observing what JF Chanlat (2019) pointed out: “North American studies on the influence of values ​​in a university program have clearly demonstrated their role in students’ representations of social reality. It is no coincidence that many business and economics students have a more utilitarian view of the world than those of other disciplines; in fact, this is sometimes the only speech they hear and read.” E. Tijerina (2008) points in the same direction: “in experimental studies on human cooperation, economics and business administration students are notoriously non-cooperative. ‘Learning economics, it seems, can make people more selfish.’ Recent events in Latin America, due to the growing weight of the judiciary in political decisions (Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico), also require a critical look at professional training in law schools. A lot of work ahead, with a pending subject: rethinking ethics, as an active commitment in the professional training of economists (teachers and students), “Committed to transforming unfair reality”(Sisti and Andújar, 2023).

(Professor at the UAM)

Rethinking the professional profile of the economist