We spoke with Samuel Decker who works for Plurale Ökonomik, a German Network for Pluralist Economics, supporting the next generation of economists and changemakers. He is the Scientific Coordinator at Exploring Economics, an e-learning platform, giving you the opportunity to study a variety of economic theories, topics, concepts & methods.
What kind of progress do you see your work making? And towards what?
We started as a student network, with local groups and with an ambition to support upcoming generations of economists. Our ambitions expanded and we now do a range of different activities. This includes running a Summer Academy with training and certified programmes – all of which are ECGS accredited and a science communication practice. The Exploring Economics platform – which is our learning platform, and mostly used by students of economics, has 40,000 visitors a month. This is our main effort to socialise and spread plural economic theories, highlighting alternatives to the mainstream economic textbooks and influencing change at the level of education.
Most of the people visiting the site come through the Google search engine and we can see the potential in becoming the Netflix for learning about economics. The numbers visiting the site are growing all the time and we are increasing our sophistication in how people discover more content, find related content and stay for longer.
Longer-term we are planning to move from being an aggregator of materials to being a producer and publisher of topical and requested economic material especially in collaboration with others. And to be the go-to platform for essential economic expertise for economic change makers and the public.
What about the ’new economy’ field as a whole? Where do you think the opportunities are for greater progress?
The New Economy field has expanded massively – most of the organisations in the field didn’t exist even 5 years ago. That’s really exciting to see it grow and to see how different organisations are using different tactics to influence change. However, it also means that more effort needs to go into how these many initiatives link up and are more obviously related to each other.
A core idea behind our new ‘Strategy Platform’ is to link up different actors in the New Economy field in Germany and ask how they are related to each other in terms of mission and strategies. We believe the work they are doing is complementary to each other and so there will be ways to address strategic problems together, in collaboration. The status quo is really powerful so we need to be more powerful together if we want to change things! And more strategic – specifically looking at how legislative policy can be effectively influenced, how to create public pressure and to influence policy makers directly. We also want to see the New Economy space broadened.
Whilst there are many new university programmes and courses looking towards alternative economics they still remain niche so we have to keep looking for openings and opportunities to connect into the mainstream. The escalating crisis around energy for example, does help to make the case for our work.
What is something people could do to support your work?
Spread our message on Twitter and Instagram! Become a Club Member of the network. Let us know if you want to contribute content to the platform or have other content ideas for it. For organisations in Germany, become part of the Strategy Platform initiative – where we will be hosting convenings to build shared strategies for influencing.Back to Stories