Development is freedom: freedom for humans over social or political
institutions that govern society, and it is this freedom that stays
contested alike, for economists during times of conflict and for graduate students as they remain aloof of real economic issues. The most glaring question in the face of heterodox economics thus states whether the tools available in mainstream economics provide the framework that allow us to progress towards such a society that promises the freedom of critical thinking.
Any economic theory - whether Neo-classical, Marxian, or Capitalist - turns mainstream owing to the political atmosphere in the time it was presented, and a radical theory, solely on the account of it being too radical is pushed to the periphery. It is this entry into a concerning economic issue that determines the level of progress in society, and this juncture must be dealt with with critical scientific and political thinking, as opposed to deciding to merely count the tools available in our toolbox of mainstream economics.
The prominent mainstream theories of growth present empirical evidence in massive tables and charts, all the while sidelining figures of historical events of colonialism, exploitation, patriarchy, resistance, and discrimination. In nations like South Africa or India where chronic inequality is hard to ignore, classical theories of consumption are unable to bridge the divide between the theoretical and the evidence of livelihoods of low-wage workers and capitalists.
Some research shows that professors in the global north are less likely to highlight issues of capitalism, power structures, and exploitation than their contemporaries in southern universities. Even academic journals that are recommended readings for students largely belong to countries of the USA, and Europe. So there is an imbalance not just in the way administrations are governed and managed, but also in the knowledge they disseminate to future generations.
Heterodox economics must be able to provide ways of breaking such hierarchies of power and provide a space where there is a democracy of ideas. Taking the ground of sound economic policing, nations should be able to focus on policies that are able to provide for grants to their deserving population, i.e. the elderly and the indisposed. The lack of pluralist ideas and reasoning among students of not just economics but all social sciences, where they fail to question the global political order as it is, is not simply an exclusion of identities but also of ideas that could possibly set the world alight.